The young theatre group Making Noise, performed their new play, Rumour Has It this last Saturday at NCPA’s Experimental Theatre. Like their other recent play 'Go Back for Murder', this play that is based on Neil Simon’s comedy Rumours , has also been adapted to an Indian milieu.
Making Noisee, say that their play “Rumour Has It”, is a “farcical comedy play that involves a gun, missing people, dysfunctional couples, a cop and whole lot of madness, with music, dancing and laughter in desi style.” Unfortunately this 1988 play, was written at a point in author Neil Simon’s life, when he was going through a lot of problems in his personal life, so he thought that writing a comic farce, would help him cope with these problems. However, they seem to have got in the way of his creativity. The play tries to handle much too many farcical situations with too many characters and too many exits and entrances on stage. This play is inherently flawed, and in order to pull it off, the actors’ timing has to be immaculate. Thus an adaptation has to work doubly hard to pull it off. I have seen this play adapted to an Indian setting by a Delhi Theatre group as well, and it failed to move the audience, because of this basic shortcoming.
In this production, adapted and directed by the talented Laura Mishra , Karthik Sharma (Tanmay Ranjan) and his wife Guddi (Prerna Talwar) come to attend Madhu and Hrithik Kapoor’s wedding anniversary party. However, Madhu is nowhere on the scene and neither is her husband, and then a gunshot is heard from upstairs. Then follow some crazy scenes and situations when Chandini (Laura Mishra) and her husband Soumik, arrive as the next guests. Thinking that they might be blamed for shooting Hritik, they all decide not to tell other guests who arrive in quick succession. Further mayhem and confusion ensues, when Dev, a psychiatrist and his wife Cookie, a TV host of a cooking show, arrive. Matters get further complicated when the politician from Nallasopara Advik (Yash Oberoi) comes next, with his wife Aradhana. Since no servants are in the house either, a couple of the guests end up cooking the meal and to take matters even more out of hand two cops arrive on the scene! There is far too much happening on stage! Presumably the play has an undercurrent of sadness, denoting events in playwright Simon’s life, but the audience should not have to go delving for innuendoes and hidden meanings.
At any given time this is a tough play to direct, because the comic timing has to be just perfect. It is also a tough play to adapt. Kudos to Laura Mishra for attempting it. She was also a good Chandini, with her exaggerated Bengali characterisation. Yash Oberoi as Advik was convincing as well, and the use of Hinglish and Marathi worked wonderfully well in this adaptation.
The group plans on putting up more shows of “Rumour Has It” in August at NCPA and in Bandra.