Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rouge Trade

I barely made it to the last performance of Moulin Rouge in Islamabad last night. I got there at five minutes to eight, but couldn't see a single vacant seat. Nor could the dozen odd friends I was with. In a fit of extreme good nature, we agreed to sit in the aisles. This is torture for bony bottoms like mine. Lots of legroom but(t) tough.. This was an "interactive "production with actors strolling over the theatre, so we'd have to shift occasionally to let people through.

It takes a brave man to put up a musical which has (not very long ago) been the subject of a successful film and a pretty good soundtrack. Braver still, to tackle this with a cast of 18 year olds (or thereabouts) and a very limited budget. There was one static set and one costume change at the very end. Not the makings of great theatre, but I must confess that I truly enjoyed the production, sore butt notwithstanding. First, amateur theatre has come a long way since I trod the treadboards. Some of the dialogue would have excised by self imposed censors. Heavens - there was also something approximating a kiss. Second, the youthful cast tended to ham their way through many of their lines. But its OK to ham one's way through Moulin Rouge. Indeed, almost mandatory. The film's dialogue was so cringingly Godawful, that I had to hit the forward button to be saved by the next delicious musical number. Third: Teen Spirit. There is something to be said for youthful exuberance when one is surrounded by jaded, faded, degraded fortysomethings.

The director (the oddly named Shah Sharabeel) took some liberties with the script, which could have been cut by at least another twenty minutes. This is clearly a case of the aching butt ruling the head. The musical numbers were largely taped but this became less of a problem as the show went on. Not a bad way to spend two hours. Not bad value for money at five hundred rupees a ticket. And there is some kind of theatre in the city - no matter how rudimentary.

The only horrific part of the evening were the long directorial speeches. One at the beginning asking the audience to go to the loo NOW. And one at the end introducing each extra, cue reader and actor by name. The pain in my butt was excruciating now. I stood up. A bouncer tried to get me to sit down. "My ass hurts. And if you don't let me out now I'm going to piss all over you." The crowds parted. Like Moses I glided through. A day later I'm still aching. I was flipping through the cast of characters today. The delightfully beautiful Franco-Pakistani actor playing Christian was called - wait for it- BUTT.


Blogger livinghigh said...

a lot of points to make:
1. d-uh - of course! India's full of royals, luv! lol.. where do u think Jaipur, from where ure lovely maharani comes from, is located??? ;-)
2. Rs 500 for an amateur play sounds steep to me!!! sigh.. am not much of for the Arts, am I? (double sigh)
3. like - "go to the loo NOW!!!!"???? hehehe... the order sounds strangely draconian and quite scintillating, as well!
4. Cannot believe anyone's name is Butt. You made dat up. Wisful thinking, perhaps? lol.

11:51 am  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

cool. to reply
1. really ? I know they're from India, but are they visible?
2. I think 500 is just about ok for Pakistan. The groups are small, its on a non profit basis and there are no professional actors.
3. The order made me feel like a kid at school all over again!
4. Butt is a good Kashmiri name! We have loads of "Butt Saabs" here!

ciao ciao

12:29 pm  
Blogger Sin said...

Was this a local Butt, or an imported Butt? ;)

12:38 pm  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

This butt was half Pakistani and half French. Still trying to figure out which was which. In hindsight, the play wasn't great. El Butt was delightful though. My best friend, sitting next to me giggled as she watched me follow his every move on stage. I am really really fickle.

12:46 pm  

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