Nothing Like Lear

The performance is one of the ‘clown’ series plays devised by Rajat Kapoor. Borrowing central theme from Shakespearean tragedy ‘King Lear’, it is a comical spoof which retains all the pain and sufferings of the tragic hero of the original. The play is performed by single artist who plays two roles – one of a circus clown, a fool; and the other, of foolhardy hallow King Lear. In instances he picks up the roles of the daughters and other characters. The interweaving of the contemporary (fool) with literature (King) show how relevant and how poignant Shakespeare remain in today’s world. How the characters are still relevant in today’s world even if the kingdoms have long ceased to exist!

The play is done very well. Hats-off to the director Vinay Pathak and performed Vinay Pathak (Atul in few performances) for keep the audience entertained with single performer on stage for around 90 minutes with no props. The play is enjoyable as the clown – the fool – shows his antiques and also digs on contemporary trends. Equally impactful is the portrayal of darkness inside King Lear who is betrayed by her daughters. There is not much in terms of stage decoration and props, which lets audience focus on the character solely.

With all the greatness in the performance and the flawless execution, the play might still not be enjoyed by everyone. For one, the series is NOT Shakespeare’s King Lear – this one is not even an adaption. Secondly, the play uses a lot of references and tells the story in bits and pieces. I am really not sure if a person will be able to understand the story if he/she has not read the play earlier. Thirdly, the acts and dialogues of the ‘fool’ are more like a stand-up comedy and not much play-like. Because of these reasons, I wonder if at least some audience may not like or enjoy it. Make no mistake here, the performance is done very well and is intellectually simulating, but…

AglaPlay Verdict: Should Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 3/5
Language: English, Gibberish
Duration: 1 Hour 30 minutes (Approx.)
Writer:  Rajat Kapoor 
Inspired from: Shakespeare / King Lear
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Vinay Pathak

Below are few relevant links.

Rajat Kapoor Interview
Making of the Play - Rehearsal Series 
Review with Interviews - HT
Complete Play [Original]

Macbeth – What is Done is Done

This is the third imaginative, comical ‘clown’ theme adaptions of Shakespeare plays. The original tragedy is a story of power, greed, betrayal and consequences. Whether you know about the original play or not, is immaterial, as the tragedy of Macbeth is narrated in the first scene itself. What follows is a dark, involving comedy with the clowns as characters. The themes move across the evils that haunt humanity today, as Macbeth was about the evils that haunted the royal class then. Women-safety, racism, greed – even today’s political situation – are jibed at.

Rajat’s witches talk not only of the macabre or the future. They also scorn at our mobile phone uses. Macbeth is changed to Macky B, with a painted face, has a courtroom full of jokers. But mistake not, this Macky B is still haunted by the ghost of Banquo and still paints with the blood of innocents.

Rajat Kapoor does a marvelous job yet again as director. Picking up the underlying themes from the original and creates a whole new experience for audience. The creative freedom is used judiciously where the play borders on the right amount of comedy and darkness. Vinay Pathak as Spanish clown Pedro does an amazing job. Then there is Kalki and Tillotama Shome who put up a great show. Jim Sarbh as Julio is comical, sharp and is fun to watch.

A must watch, this play is easily among the most enjoyable plays around. The play has its shortcomings and may not be liked by certain audience due to the aberrations from the original. With them I will agree, but then, it was never supposed to be! Ranvir Shorey’s portrayal of Macbeth (sorry, Macky B) could have been better, but here again, I cannot judge him as I have not read/watched the original.

AglaPlay Verdict: Must Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: English, Gibberish
Duration: 1 Hour 30 minutes (Approx.)
Writer:  Rajat Kapoor 
Inspired from: Shakespeare / Macbeth  
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Vinay Pathak (Pedro), 
Ranvir Shorey (Macky B),
Kalki  Koechlin (Witch & more),
Jim Sarbh (Julio), 
Tilotama Shome 
& Others

Below are few relevant links.

Play trailer 
Review on
Macbeth Complete Play [Original, contemporary English]

The Truth

This hilarious, captivating play on extra-marital affairs is originally written by award-winning playwright Florian Zeller. The protagonist, KC, is having an extra-marital affair. He is in habit of lying to (mostly) unsuspecting wife. With little inhibitions, KC authors new lies every second, and then lies more, to support the previous lie. As if the life was not pretty complicated for our hero already, his affair is with his best friend Zed’s wife Lovelin! The play explores the attempts of KC to hide the truth from everyone, and more…

Naseeruddin Shah is an amazing actor. But the perfection with which he embodies KC, is beyond anything I have seen from Mr Shah. He is spontaneous, he is funny and even in the darkest of his acts, audience can’t help but sympathize with the character. Ratna and other characters also are very relatable. The dialogues and the screenplay are crisp.

It is a great fun and one of the most enjoyable plays. The topic is a bit, you know, adult(er)y, hence not recommending it for teens and children, otherwise this is a great play which will be enjoyed by everyone. However, Motley has self-rated it (A), for 18+ years audience only.

AglaPlay Verdict: A must watch with your partner
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: English
Duration: 1 Hours 30 Minutes 
Writer: Florian Zeller
Director: Ratna Pathak Shah
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah (KC),
Meher Mistry / Shruti Vyas (Lovelin),
Ratna Pathak / Avantiak Akrekar (KC's Wife),
Arghya Lahiri / Gaurav Sharma (Zed)

Below are a few relevant links. This is a popular, great play with many reviews on internet – all positive. But please do not read other online reviews as few of these unknowingly have gone in too much detail on the story-line and may spoil your fun. Do note that even the official trailer for this play mutes the dialogues.

Other Links
Official Trailer
Naseeruddin Shah Wiki
Ratna Pathak Wikipedia

The Father

Originally a French play written by Florian Zeller, The Father explores the challenges of Andre, the central character who is suffering from amnesia. Andre’s nurses repeatedly quit job due to his tantrums. His caring daughter, Ann, then takes Andre to her home where she lives with her husband, Pierre. Told from Andre’s perspective, different scenes flow through the times, jumping in the past and back as Andre remembers and forgets his life events. The play culminates to a shocking end.

The Stage setup is very innovative. The design of an apartment / hospital is marked on the ground with white paper tapes on which the actors perform. The audiences are very close to the performance and sitting is done in 360º view. The sync of the sound of taps etc is done very well. The experience of watching the play in such a setup is a novelty and done very nicely. Naseeruddin shah plays the central character with perfection and such energy that moves the audience. The rest of the cast matches his vigor.

It is a play well-done on all fronts. Strongly recommend for all audience.

AglaPlay Verdict: Strongly recommended for all
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: English
Duration: 2 Hours 
Writer: Florian Zeller
Director: Naseeruddin Shah
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah (Andre, The Father),
Ratna Pathak Shah, 
Heeba Shah & Others.

Below are a few relevant links.

Other Links
Naseeruddin Shah Wiki
Ratna Pathak Wikipedia