Prithvi Theatre in Juhu, Mumbai, is a place of pilgrimage to drama lovers the world over. A love of theatre makes me check out Prithvi whenever I am in Mumbai. Prithivi Cafe and Samovar are my favourite haunts as it is to many. Last week, while in Mumbai, I took time off to watch the late evening show of 'Grey Elephants in Denmark' at Prithvi. The play in English on the lfe of Vinay Iyengar, the youngest of the Palangad Iyengars, a traditonal family of magicians is well scripted and acted out. It depicts the transformation of young Vinay at different stages of life and as he travels the world and encounters others of his tribe. His monologues, his discussions, his cousin Anita, herself a magician, describing him, are all quite fascinating to keep the audience spell bound. Vinay is frustrated when he discovers the 'willing suspension of disbelief' of the audience that enables a magician's stage performances to be successful. From 'sleight of hand to sleight of mind' is how he describes his transformation and growth. Vinay's realisation of his limits as a magician and the attempts to overcome them are the 'mis-theme' of this play and they are depicted through him and through people close to him. Whether they are futile or successful is left to the the viewer. Leaving the final question unanswered and to the viewer to interpret is ultimate achievement in art and the playwright has 'mis-directed' it with great skill.
After the play I went backstage and congragulated the actors.Without their tremendous effort and hardwork the play could not have been acted out so well. They even had to master some magic. May 'Out of Context' present us with more such gems.