Thursday, September 5, 2013

A review of "Iruthiyil Yaar??" - An adaptation of 'And then there were none' by Agatha Christie.

“Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine.

Nine little soldier boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were Eight.

Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay there and then there were Seven.

Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.

Six little soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.

Five little soldier boys going in for law; One got into Chancery and then there were Four.

Four little soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.

Three little soldier boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.

Two little soldier boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was One.

One little soldier boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were None.”

- And then there were none
- Agatha Christie (6 Nov 1939)

(Source: Wiki)

A Classic murder mystery. One of the top best-selling mystery novels. Over a 100 million sales to date. One of my most favorite murder mysteries ever. Adapted and remade in several other mediums.

And I happened to catch one of them over the last weekend. Which means, Yes! This post is way overdue and I got swamped at work to get down to writing it. But then hey! Better late than never, right? Right!! :D Oh and also, the play was in Tamil. :)

Avant Theatre – a Singapore Arts & Theatre group – put up a play titled ‘Iruthiyil Yaar’ an adaptation of this best-seller.

I’ll admit it, I was skeptical! I had never watched a Tamil play before. Heck! I had never watched a play before this. And they were doing an adaptation of a classic. The book is one that runs over 150 pages of well-crafted suspense and I was curious to know how they would squeeze this into a 1.5hr play. I was ready to take up daggers if this was not up to my expectations.

Fortunately, it exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds.

So what caught my eye? :)

Some specific things like the use of space, or what was available of it. The play was staged at ‘Aliwal Arts House Black Box’, a setting which is a little different from conventional staging. They made amazing use of the available space, created an old house, complete with chandelier and a bar at the side. Impressed!

The lighting and the sound effects. Good stuff! Some of the background pieces were really good and there was no hitch anywhere at all, which was a good thing!

The dolls. Yes. The 10 dolls, lined up on one corner of the stage, one of which disappeared with or right before the next killing. What’s so interesting about the dolls you ask? Well, the way they disappeared! It was noticeable only after the first two killings and even then it was not evident how they managed to remove one doll at a time without anyone noticing. I thought it was a string that pulled down the dolls, and I did see one of them being tugged off the table, but the crew said that it was not the method used. Still a suspense that one is! Trade secrets, they said! ;)

The CAST – Good performances by all. And the catch-phrase that Divya used – ‘IT’S SO ANNOYING’ – caught on quite fast, I must say! :-) Pretty good dialogues. Very relatable and some subtle puns here and there. Overall, a very enjoyable play. You could see that the actors had put in their life and soul to make this work and to make each character believable. That’s the thing about good performances! The dedication shines through no matter what! Being a performer myself, I get that feeling. The jittery nerves right before a performance, the slipping away of the butterflies in the tummy the minute you get into character and the self-satisfaction of a job well-done at the end of it. That was evident on the faces of each and every one of the crew!! :)

Even though, there were some slight deviations from the book, it was definitely a commendable performance and I really enjoyed watching it.

Here’s hoping that Avant comes up with more memorable and awesome plays.

Keep up the good work Guys! Kudos! :)

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