Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE CARETAKER ( A PLAY) - ENGLISH

An extract from the brochure, before I proceed with the review

On an autumn evening in London, Aston returns to his dilapidated apartment. With him, he has brought Davies, a homeless man who was involved in a fight on the streets. This unlikely pair struggles to understand each other, and as Davies gradually settles in and starts treating the place like his own house, tensions begin to rise. Mick, Aston's aggressive younger brother, initially sees this intruder as nothing more than a common thief. However, after both brothers offer Davies the job of caretaker, the situation becomes more and more intriguing.

The bottom line is "The Caretaker did not take care of the play well".

The caretaker played by Krishna Shukla did not seem to have deliver dialogues but just seemed to blabber. At times while shaking his legs and not knowing what to say and at times trying very hard to light a cigar pipe. I only wish he spoke well to convey what he wanted to the audience.

Directed by the UK based, Stu Denison his affinity and appreciation of language of UK and the way he wanted the whole accent to be UK English was very apparent and the actors tried too hard to stick with it. Specially by Krishna Shukla who was not so comfortable as I made out. Having said that, Tavish Bhattacharya as Aston performed exceedingly well and so did Rahul Premchander as Mick (Aston's younger brother).

Critiquing Shukla more, his body language seemed to have been trying to emulate the Charlie Chaplin's tramp and thus did not present an original Caretaker for me. Credit for extracting the way the actor performed must be given to the director, so I criticize Stu here.

Also, the sound design was not as good as yesterday's play "Being Eunuch". There were brief disturbances for good number of times and when the lights went off for a brief changeover, a music came which was not actually needed.

Having criticized Krishna Shukla and Stu, let me also appreciate Rahul and Tavish for their near spell binding performances. They were so very good each time they said a dialogue. Be it a lengthy monologue of Aston of how he became what he is now, or the kind of description and details that Mick shares, these two are seriously the best parts of the play.

As for the play, it's an absurd play or rather I will say, one that does not have a proper start or a finish. It's  characters too are extremely eccentric and so rare that most would never even encounter. But, the whole backdrop, the set in which the play takes place is very real. The set design was in fact very extravagant than needed, this could have been done by two beds and few things around instead of having a typical room is what I felt (but only after it got completed).

For nearly 2 hours, I did not even wink to see what I can make out of this play and trying to decipher what this play exactly meant, I could not take out a point. There were good things for sure but they were far too far for my comfort to call this even as a watchable. There were glimpses of the genius, like when Mick as Davies (rather Jenkins) his name and where he slept on repeatedly, but never a complete vision or sight of it.

I have no problem or inhibition about plays or movies that do not have a point as a whole, but to convey what each character wants to convey, let the dialogues be completely clear, to at least understand a few points. Specifically, dialogues by Caretaker have to be much clearer.

If other plays ended in a whiff, this seemed too long which I must confess is a reflection of how uninteresting the whole act was.

The most distracting thing was people popping out their SLR cameras to capture everything that went on stage. I hope the audience had better manners. Though cell phones were switched off for most part of this theatre festival, I could hear in this very play many ringtones, and even the crumbling of chairs, a real distraction.

Am happy to have watched these 3 plays and have learnt new things. Now, will make it a point to watch interesting or reputed plays.

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