I had gone to Chennai over the weekend to attend my apartment mate’s betrothal ceremony and had the opportunity to watch my first English play titled “The Cut of Hamlet”, courtesy KR. There were four of us from the ISB – Class of 2006 at the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium in Chennai on Saturday to watch the afternoon show. Two of us – Kost & I were there ‘time pass karne ke liye’ and to have some fun watching the comedy. The third guy, KR had come there mainly because the lead actor in the play Kartik Kumar was his favorite RJ Shuchi’s husband. The fourth one (Clickie), I suppose, was there for the same reason as Kost and I were, though he claimed to have enjoyed the play a lot later.
The Cut of Hamlet, an English play by Evam, is enacted in two parts. The first part is the “Cut” which starts off as a play with some comedy sprinkled here and there and then turns into a play-within-a-play-within-a-play … and so on when after every shot, the director of that shot or the sound guy or some other guy emerges from the audience to himself become a part of the next shot. The “Cut” is introduced to the audience by the three main characters in the play – Kartik, Sunil Vishnu and TMK (or TKM … don’t remember the exact name … TM Krishna is one of my favorite singers and TMK is what comes to my mind). TMK doesn’t want to do the play and Kartik chases him around the auditorium trying to convince him to do it. There was a scene when Kartik chases TMK to the exit and TMK grabs a latecomer, who incidentally is wearing a Superman shirt, swearing to kill him if Kartik chases him further. Sunil Vishnu then gets the “Cut” running while he leaves to get Kartik and TMK back. Though a bit confusing and entertaining to begin with, the “Cut” gets more predictive as time passes and I must say, a bit boring too. The characters in the “Cut” are supposed to be newcomers and they try their best to give a good performance. I especially liked the expressions shown by the guy who played Satan.
The second part of the play “Hamlet” starts just when you start wondering during the interval ‘yeh kahan paise duba diye maine’. This is enacted by the three ‘professionals’ – Kartik, Sunil and TMK, and is the part that can help you justify the money spent on the play. To enjoy this, it is necessary that you read the abridged version of the original Hamlet available outside the auditorium. The acting done by the three apart, what made the play all the more enjoyable was the way they involved the audience in it. For instance, they got a girl from the audience to do Ophelia’s scream. Kartik then came running into the audience to pick up a ‘bakra’ and he chose my friend Kost who was made to do what he does best – run from one end of the stage to another waving his hands. Then he asked a part of the audience to wave their hands and shout “may be, may be not”. The people in the balcony were asked to shout “Cut the crap. My biological clock is ticking. I want babies ….”. The whole sequence was then repeated and things like this kept almost everyone in the auditorium involved. Will not describe the play any further, lest you decide to watch it and miss out on its funny parts.
KR played a really good host to us during this trip. Must thank him for the same.