Friday and Saturday saw the ninth and tenth shows of Midnight Hotel. The director has already told me he feels the play has done its bit in Chennai, and may not have an audience after this. There was a Kochi show scheduled for August 30 that was cancelled because of some sponsorship issue. I was looking forward to having the play in Kerala. Maybe it will happen one day. Anyway, ten shows in Chennai and Bangalore's good enough, and except for the last two, all shows played to full houses.
There's a Twitter entry from Kyra: one of their waiters jumped into the arms of the barman during an especially scary moment in the play! These are moments that make life worth living!
You write a play, and somehow it works. Director Mithran realised the nuances, and he's also a magician with lighting, design and sound. The cast was the best. And the backstage crew was excellent most of the time. Like I said, somehow, sometimes, it works. I wanted a play where wit was a major element, and it seems to have worked most of the time. The ninth show wasn't such a big success, both cast (in the beginning, anyway) and audience were out of energy. The next night made up for it. The audience was fantastic. I don't think my laugh-lines did so much during any of the previous shows. It was a fitting finale! And the cast and crew rose magnificently to the occasion. There were speeches earlier, this being a fund-raiser for CMC Vellore's patient programme. Both days the director held on to the mike, but I couldn't resist almost grabbing the mike from him after the play the second day and saying: "This is is the night of August 15th, and here we have Midnight's Children!" It was an uncontrollable urge, and I gave in!
Dr Binayak Sen, the human rights activist, was chief guest both nights, and he told me he enjoyed the play. He too must have seen the difference on the 2nd day. We had dinner at Mithran's house where there was a small discussion about what he'd been doing, his arrest and thereafter. Also, a bit of an ideology debate with Mike and Anu, the lead pair, and Dr Sen. Was this progress vs. human rights? Or was even the "progress" open to question? What was the role of the Maoists? But it was a dining-table discussion, not the debate the subject deserved.
Sunday afternoon, there was R. V. Ramani's film on Tamil writer Sundara Ramaswamy. Very interesting, because Ramani casts his net wide and catches other fish too. So there's an ambience that reaches outwards from Su Ra. Personally, I felt there could have been tighter editing at some places, but I enjoyed the leisurely feel nevertheless. I would have discussed it with Ramani if there was time. I liked the strand with the Brahmin-nonBrahmin debate. In many cases nowadays, there's too much discussion about differences and divisions instead of addressing the immediate problem. And the discussions continue, becoming more and more heated and alienating all parties, and the problems continue to grow.