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Peep into private thoughts

ELIZABETH ROY

THEATRE Despite the huge potential and competent actors, ``Talking With... " did not make the expected impact.



GRIPPING: Kaveri Lalchand impressed with her body language. Photo: S. R. Raghunathan.

``Talking With..." is an award winning American play from Jane Martin, who has never made a public appearance, never given interviews and never allowed to be photographed! Talking With... is a string of 11 short monologues by women. Mithran Devanesen picked seven of them for The Madras Theatre Club-MTC Productions evening at the Museum Theatre.

It is a little risky trying to make connections between the pieces in a simple way, trying to force a larger picture to emerge out of a half dozen unconnected incidents in life. In dealing with the play it is best to allow yourself to journey along and to read the signs.

The narrative was good. It was an extraordinary challenge for the seven actors to be on stage with almost no moves, no sets, no props to help hold the audience. Kudos to those who did well. The other few wandered unceremoniously beyond our peripheral vision.

The best performance of the evening came from Kaveri Lalchand. She brought in the right amount of force to hold the audience and create the American spirit.

She also gave herself sufficient moves and relied on body language.It was good to see Vishalam Ekambaram back on stage, this time in a mellow delivery in French Fries. Viniti Mahbubani, a relatively new entrant on the Chennai stage enjoyed one of the more powerful pieces — Clear Glass Marbles. The performance stood out for its quiet control and clarity of diction and voice.

Another piece that held the audience was Gayathri Sriram's ``Marks." Rashmi Devadasan brought out the comic element in ``Dragons" and gave the audience plenty to ponder as she went into prolonged labour preceding the birth of her deformed baby. It was a difficult piece and Rashmi brought her experience and talent to it.

The two pieces that failed that evening were Fifteen Minutes by Shakila Arun and Andrea Jeremiah's Twirler. For some reason their performances didn't take off.

Despite the huge potential and high expectations, a combination of competent actors, a well-known designer-director, a tight script, and some pretty good performances, the evening failed to ride high.

No surprises

Mithran Devanesen was not his usual self. He did not indulge us with his usual surprises. The experience, however, was interesting. The audience responded to the pieces and the star cast. It was like reading someone's private thoughts, a vicarious thrill quite similar to reading someone's diary or journal, and watching meanings and relationships emerge.

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