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Alone Together

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

'Dionysiacs' is a good name fore theatre group – Dionysius being the Greek God of Theatre (also of wine and ritual madness, so that fits too).

Karan Pandit, award-winning stage actor, has just set up his own group, and their first production is titled 'Single'. It is a collection of nine monologues around the concept of single (not strictly so), which he has directed. He has enacted three and also written (or co-written) them, which for a newbie producer is quite an achievement.

They are all in English, but the one in Hindi easily stands out. In 'Ek Number', Karan Pandit plays Faraz (Pharaj as he pronounces it), an ambitious gangster who has risen from the ranks and wants to be at the top in Mumbai. He has asked his girlfriend for a date in a five-star hotel and narrates his story as he waits for her to arrive, obviously feeling out of place in the surroundings but also brazening it out, because of his own sense of self-worth and power.

Pandit also plays a counselor in the funny piece, 'Grow Up India!' In which he is trying to get India (a 27-year-old ‘dude’) to buckle up and face challenges thrown at him.

Devi Gianetti’s piece (co-written by Pandit) is a bitter-sweet rant of a mixed-race girl growing up in a conservative south Indian town (like Gianetti herself – of Italian-American and Gujarati parentage), trying desperately to fit in with her dark-skinned schoolmates, hoping a 'gajra', 'bindi' and talcum powder will do the trick.

Sushrii Shreya Mishraa tries to tempt Luck – who, in the piece written by Pandit – is not a lady as traditionally believed, but a man in the position to change the life of a young woman, who has done everything right, but just needs a stroke of luck.

Vishal Handa is the fourth actor in the bunch playing a husband desperately trying to win back his estranged wife in one piece, and drinking alone in a pub in another.

The monologue has become a popular format – the relatively low production costs, the focus on acting and ease of travel makes it tempting. Luckily, Mumbai now has many small alternative venues, where such productions can be staged. Wishing these Dionysiacs a long and successful innings in theatre.

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