A Preview of Bay Area Drama Company’s adaptation of “A Doll’s House”

Last Fall, I had the pleasure to see the opening show of Bay Area Drama Company’s very first play, an adaptation of Rahul Varma’s Bhopal. It was a fabulous effort by the brand new drama company filled with local thespians who have donned the greasepaint and worked behind the scenes, many a time in the past few decades.

BAD Company's "A Doll's House"

This week, BAD Company is offering its second play, its very own take on Henrik Ibsen’s classic take on family and gender dynamics, “A Doll’s House.” Many of you are probably familiar with Henrik’s Ibsen’s timeless classic which shook and continues to shake the traditional patriarchic underpinnings of societies across the world. One of the most performed plays in the world, “A Doll’s House” is a one of those scripts and topics that has withstood the test of time.

Basab Pradhan, one of the founders of BAD Company, directs the play while Sindu Singh, another founder produces and takes on the critical role of Naina (Nora in the original play).

Gender dynamics has always been a hot bed for progressive thought and Ibsen was acutely prescient when he wrote this and presented it for the first time in 1879. While the environment around us has changed over the century and a half, much of the world is still predominantly patriarchal in nature. In the workplace and at home, the woman has constantly been challenged to prove her worth, much more than the corresponding man. Ibsen gives his Nora, a voice that was unheard of in 1879. Nora still needs a voice and Naina is that.

Having seen “Bhopal”, I am very excited to catch “A Doll’s House” this weekend at the Sunnyvale Theatre. Having heard from people who have seen it, this seems to be a must see event of the Spring. If you get a chance, you should check it out too. It might just be the right weekend entertainment for you- smart, thought provoking and timely.

A brief review of Naatak’s fabulous adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”

On Saturday, March 21st, 2015, I had the chance to see Naatak’s Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” titled “To sum purush, na mo sum naari.”  You can read through this article if you still deciding if this play is for you or you can save yourself the time and just go watch it next weekend. It is a decision you will most certainly not regret. It is that good. My recommendation out of the way, here is my short review.

To Sum Purush, Na Mo Sum Naari” roughly translates to “No Man like you, no woman like me.” This sharply written take on Shakespeare’s iconic comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew” is the 48th play being staged by Naatak, Bay Area’s revered theater group. This was my first Naatak play and I now understand why they are spoken about with such respect. The play was well-directed, beautifully designed, and joyfully acted by a merry band of local talent that came together to be a complete package. For just over two hours at the Tabard Theater on San Pedro Square in San Jose, the audience was rolling on the floors in laughter.

TSPNMSN is a non-stop ride alternating between slapstick and highbrow comedy- a balancing act that the crew pulls off very admirably. That the play is in a Bundelkhandi, a dialect of Hindi adds to the flavor in a way that I did not anticipate. I approached the play with trepidation thinking the dialect would make it challenging to follow the story. I am comfortable with Hindi and the language on stage was not much different from Hindi, yet added a touch of uniqueness to the play that made it all the more fun. The supertitles helped but for much of the time, I was just content following the proceedings. The language was never a barrier and in fact, a definite plus. Props to the Naatak braintrust for having the courage to attempt the play in Bundelkhandi and hitting a homerun (nay a six) in the process.

The set is simple, yet tastefully done and fills in for admirably for Padua. The costumes are spot on. A huge plus is the intimate nature of the theater which brings the viewer so close to the performers. Loved the venue and how it was orchestrated for the play. The intimate experience adds significantly to the enjoyment of the proceedings. And the acting is just so good, and so well done, it is just phenomenal. Every single nuance and dialogue is pitch perfect. Not a wasted second. Not a wasted word. Just perfectly written and beautifully acted.

I would love to tell you more about the play. But you really should see it live. It plays for one more weekend. So stop thinking about it and just buy the tickets. It is so well worth the price of admission, you will be thanking me afterwards.

Fabulous job, Manish , Juhi and the awesome folks involved in this play. “To Sum…” is a sheer joy, all the way. Can’t wait to see your upcoming shows in 2015 and beyond.