It’s but natural for an audience to expect a play to have a beginning, middle and an end. But in case of GOD, a play by Woody Allen they would be glad to make an exception.
GOD was staged by Cult Entertainment on the 6th of March at the Alliance Francaise. The director Avinash Daniel’s desire of successfully adapting a Woody Allen play with all its complexities, to a Bangalore audience was realized and how. By introducing sly local references and modifying situations which would appeal to the Bangalore audience, he truly made justice to the script.
The play starts off with an actor a director on stage discussing about an ending for their play, which is about to be staged for the Athenian Drama Festival. But it isn’t only about the ending. Through different characters in the play, important questions, some even philosophical in nature, are raised, thus keeping the audience guessing.
And just when you thought that the ticket money was spent on something serious, out come the slapstick situations and the well delivered laugh lines to lighten the mood. At some point in the play, i (and i believe others too) gave up on trying the fix the pieces and make sense of what was happening to stage and that’s when we all started to enjoy it better. There is the danger that a play might not be able to hold on to the audience, when it stops being coherent. So kudos to the script and the director for ensuring that didn’t happen, in this case.
Coming to the performances the multi-faceted actor Anirudh who played many roles, the prominent one being Bob Fate deserves a special mention. The comic timing and the body language was perfect from his end and the audience response justified it. The Gay King and Doris Levine gave out notable performances and their confidence on stage was evident of the practice that has gone behind it.
There were some minor slip-ups in the acting and the production departments but it was mostly forgotten the patrons who lapped up the humor served to them. One particularly entertaining situation is the use of light and sound for the arrival of GOD and the speech that follows. Brings a smile to me even as write this down; a month later.
There are inherent difficulties in enacting a Woody Allen play on stage. Firstly, there are the hidden meanings behind certain situations and lines, which if not executed well enough, might lose its purpose and fail to get it across to the audience. Then there are the local references, which a New Yorker or an American in general would appreciate better, than an international audience. Cult Entertainment handled theses difficulties with élan with suitable changes and thus ensuring that the audience was kept in the loop during the entire duration of an 'abstract' play like this. Substitution of Broadway with IPL is one such example. Well, you would appreciate it better if you heard it from them.
All in all it was time and money well spent on a pleasant Saturday evening. Or to use the cliche ' It was Paisa Vasool! '
Feeling sore that you missed it the first time around? Well GOD will grace us all again on the 21st of April at the Ranga Shankara. For more details head to indianstage.in