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Life…in a taxi

‘All the world’s a taxi ride’, an upcoming play by In Stages, a theatre company for young adults at Sunaparanta-Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho, takes place entirely in the course of a taxi ride, reports NT BUZZ

CHRISTINE MACHADO |NT BUZZ

It’s a busy scene that greets the eye at the Sunaparanta lawn. There’s an old trunk, a faded diary, musical instruments, and a whole lot of other knick knacks all around. In the midst of all this is Arundhati Chattopadhyaya busy setting things in place. “Day by day, my entire house seems to be shifting here,” she says laughing, pointing to all the articles lying around.

Chattopadhyaya, along with everyone who is busy at work, is preparing to stage the upcoming play ‘All the world’s a taxi ride’ which will be put up by her young theatre students from In Stages, a theatre company of Sunaparanta on the evening of January 26.

The play is a culmination of the theatre classes that the youngsters have been taking at Sunaparanta which began towards the end of June in 2018. Indeed, Sunaparanta started In stages in the year 2012 for young adults in the age group 10 to 16 years. And each year, the students then put up a play showcasing their theatre skills under the guidance of Chattopadhyaya. Chattopadhyaya began her dance and theatre career in Mumbai. She mastered the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam from Guru Raghavan Nair and was also a part of the Marathi Theatre group Aniket. A winner of Maharashtra State Award for Acting, Arundhati then moved to New York City where she performed and taught dance as well as acted in off-Broadway theatre productions. She returned back to India a few years ago to continue teaching dance and theatre here.

This time around the theatre group of 12 youngsters will be performing ‘All the world’s a taxi ride’, which takes play over the course of a taxi ride. The underlying theme of the play is borrowed from the lines in Shakespear’s play ‘As You Like it – All the world’s a stage’. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play. The play sees four people trapped in the close confines of the taxi as it zips by. The speed of the city, hustle bustle/ loneliness/aspirations/dreams and old age are all examined here.

The play was written by Indian playwright and director Ramu Ramanathan whose list of plays also includes Cotton 56 Polyester 84, Comrade Kumbhakarna and Postcards from Bardoli. “Most of his plays are Mumbai centric and thus can be adapted to any big city because we have similar problems throughout the world be it overpopulation, hustle bustle, dirt, loneliness, commuting hassles etc,” says Chattopadhyaya. Another reason why they chose this play is because the group found it not just witty but also quite abstract, she adds. “In one part of the play we have a woman ‘chitter chattering’ away on the phone. So we have done a whole choreography with the words ‘chitter’ and ‘chatter’. The piece is also a spoof on how we can’t exist without the phone today. Through this Ramu is trying to portray that despite all these connections, people are still lonely,” she explains.

 

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