Army of one

Per­formed in three In­dian cities, Go­ing Solo comes to Delhi with Pip Ut­ton as Adolf Hitler and Win­ston Chuchill in two sep­a­rate plays

India Today - - THEATRE - AT FICCI Au­di­to­rium Tick­ets Rs 750, avail­able on in. book­myshow. com By Va­roon P. Anand

tand­ing on a stage alone can heighten the ter­ror of any ac­tor. Adrift with­out com­pan­ion, a hun­dred eyes bor­ing down on you, framed in the glare of a spot­light and words wait­ing to be spo­ken. Yet some seek that vast space to stretch out ev­ery inch of their po­ten­tial, to chal­lenge them­selves be­yond the con­straints of char­ac­ter. That’s the kind of fes­ti­val that Team­work’s bring­ing to In­dia in Go­ing Solo, three one- per­son per­for­mances in­spired from the glob­ally ac­claimed Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val. Per­formed in three In­dian cities, Go­ing Solo comes to Delhi from Oc­to­ber 15th to 17th with Pip Ut­ton per­form­ing a show on Adolf Hitler and another on Win­ston Churchill, and Jailoshini Naidoo pre­sent­ing At the Edge, mor­ph­ing into 20 char­ac­ters.

Solo per­for­mances re­quire a supreme hunger and ded­i­ca­tion from the per­former. Un­der the di­rec­tion of Guy Master­son, Pip Ut­ton plays World War II icons Hitler and Churchill in two sep­a­rate plays. Lauded glob­ally for the two per­for­mances, Ut­ton ex­plains, “I came late to the act­ing world with no train­ing and no CV. I de­cided to cre­ate work for my­self and writ­ing solo plays was a good be­gin­ning.” Adolf has been per­formed for ever 15 years in more than 20 coun­tries to glow­ing re­views and packed houses. De­signed to force the au­di­ence to ques­tion the pres­ence of prej­u­dice in their own hearts

Sand sense the ease with which ha­tred can be ma­nip­u­lated into ac­tion, it is an ex­plo­ration of our most deep seated reser­va­tions on ex­pres­sion. The ac­tor alone on stage is in com­mand of his au­di­ence an guides them through their own emo­tions with the force of his own. En­ter­tain­ing the au­di­ence while mak­ing them squirm is a tightrope but Ut­ton af­firms that, “If we do not re­mem­ber, one day we will have to re­live.”

Of course, when pre­sent­ing Adolf’s ad­ver­sary in Churchill the thrust is dif­fer­ent. Born from a wish to do some­thing up­lift­ing and en­ter­tain­ing, it imag­ines that the stat­ues of the great states­men in Par­lia­ment Square have come alive for just an hour as Big Ben chimes and strikes thir­teen. This is not an at­tempt to judge but spend 70 min­utes in the en­ter­tain­ing com­pany of the man whose life spanned two cen­turies and saw the de­cline of the Bri­tish Em­pire.

What is it that drives an ac­tor to take on this kind of chal­lenge? The third show is per­formed by South Africa’s Naidoo in­ter­pret­ing a script by Ron­nie Goven­der. Here are short sto­ries all set in Cato Manor, Dur­ban be­fore its de­struc­tion by the Group Ar­eas Act. Naidoo plays an aca­demic pondering into the past and takes on 20 faces: comic, poignant, an­gry, syco­phan­tic, ego­tis­ti­cal, dev­as­tated. The uni­ver­sal­ity of th­ese emo­tions is what con­nects the au­di­ence to the per­for­mance. “No mat­ter what era we come from, we can iden­tify with the hu­man spirit,” points out Naidoo.

San­joy Roy, MD for Team­work Arts feels that, “Go­ing Solo will cap­ture the essence of the Ed­in­burgh fringe in In­dia” But Ut­ton per­sists that it is born of, “A wish to make a real 3 di­men­sional man out of a 2 di­men­sional char­ac­ter of his­tory.”

Pip Ut­ton as Adolf Hitler in

Go­ing Solo

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