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English, Satyu

M.S. Sathyu is back in the news. This time for his first English Play, Emil's Enemies, that will be staged today in the City.

Photo: T.L. Prabhakar

Satyu with his cast: an English experiment

EVERYTHING ABOUT the press conference seemed unusual. Firstly, it was on time. As soon as everyone was seated, that gracious director M.S. Satyu led his team on to the dais and started: "Yellarigu Kannada baratha? Yaake andre, Kannada is necessary though Emil's Enemies is an English play. This is the first time I am directing an English play, having previously worked in Kannada, Hindi, and Urdu. We chose this particular script because it is relevant today (referring to the Iraq war). The play is about "Nazi superiority", a race that wanted to rule the world. The same passion one sees in Americans today. Iraq is the first victim, tomorrow it may be Iran or any of the South East Asian countries. Bush and Blair have no respect for the UN. We want to show our anger at the war and the loss of innocent lives," he observed.

The director then introduced the troupe members, who, he said, had worked meticulously to be as "authentic as possible, carefully working on the costumes, make-up, sets, and props, and even trying to match the ring tone of the phone".

Wonder whether Bangalore audience, which walks in and out of a performance, will even notice this effort. "Well, late-comers and early-goers will not be encouraged. They will have to sit through the two-hour performance," he said with a mischievous glee, adding that theatre had to compete with television, where "one may get to see a variety of programmes by simply switching channels and yet not watch anything. But it can never be the same as sitting in an auditorium where you actually sit and watch an actor perform live without interruption.

"Though there are quite a few new talents, there are no regular shows. Tughlaq had two demand shows and then stopped. Perhaps, they were not able to gather the actors for a long time. Many are into television these days. Unlike their Mumbai counterparts, actors here do not make an attempt to come back to theatre. Auditoriums are an expensive affair. No theatre group can afford the rates they quote. And even newspaper publicity is expensive. While in Mumbai, newspapers have half a page for theatre activities, in Bangalore, people are not aware of what is happening here," he said emphatically.


The play, written by American writer Douglas Huff, has been adapted by Satyu to suit requirements here. "I have been interpretative. The audience has become sensitive and the message will have to be subtle. There are films such as Sarfarosh and Gadar, which are directly anti-Pakistan or anti-Muslim. Visual media can be both helpful and damaging," he said.

The play, produced by BLT (Bangalore Little Theatre), will be staged today at 7.30 p.m., at Guru Nanak Bhavan. Douglas Huff will also be here to see the play.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

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