Date: 07 May 2017
Venue: Odd Bird Theatre, Chattarpur
Lynda Radley’s play Futureproof is based on oddities – an armless bearded woman, a mute mermaid, a hugely fat man, a pair of Siamese twins, a hermaphrodite. As far as the society is concerned they are “freak” or “odd”. Guild of the Goat, a newly formed theatre group was staging Futureproof at Oddbird Theatre.
We found it rather interesting that a play based on odds was being staged at Oddbird Theatre. Oddbird Theatre is tucked inside Chhatarpur and with unplastered brick walls, matte wood work and soft lights, has a Shahpurjat look. The pretty venue has a parlor in the front and a podium and about 100 chairs inside. We hadn’t been to this venue earlier but Google Map was spot on so directions were not a problem. Given the traffic mayhem at Chhattarpur the play started a bit late. This gave us a little time to catch our breathes and stabilise before the play.
This English play is like an experiment. It is an admixture of abstract with reality. A little like “Elephant in the Room” that we recently watched. And as good. In fact, it is a little gimmicky. The whole cast comes out in their outlandish get-up and breaks into a performance to usher in the audience. In a while we realise that this initiation act is a part of the play. Gimmick at times is good we say.
Particularly for a sensitive subject that can be characterized with words such as “oddity” / “aberrations” / “conformiyy” / “homogenise” / “blend” a light approach helps.
The theme is overwhelming since it stirs insecurities in us. We are all unique or odd depending on how we look at it.
Without giving the story away, all we can say is that Futureproof holds a mirror to the society. One can’t but look within. The thought provoking script is undoubtedly a winner and each audience is free to form their own conclusions.
Guild of the Goat does justice to this difficult piece. All the actors succeed in convincing the audience about their oddities, their trials, tribulations. joys and sorrows. They effortlessly infuse a soul in the play making the audience be happy or sad with them. The colourful and arty stage and the costumes create a strong visual impact. Almost like a parallel theatrical language. Awestruck by the act, the otherwise unduly exuberant Delhi audience for once doesn’t break into squeals or laughter at odd moments.
We met the director Amba – Suhasini K Jhala. Amba is a sprightly young lady and a powerhouse of talent as we realised during the outstanding play. Hope she stages Futureproof in Hindi and other Indian languages so that this stimulating piece of work reaches out to a wider audience. In fact, they are hosting two other plays LIVES Of OTHERS (18, 19, 20 May) and LUCY ROSE in CONCERT (23-24 May) and we would love to watch.
After all, theatre is one of the oldest mediums of story telling and there is always room for more. Guild of the Goat has fused education as well as entertainment in Futureproof – its an experiment that has worked and how. Their upcoming shows for Futureproof are on 11th – 14th May at Oddbird Theatre and is a much watch for theatre lovers.