Rules of engagement
A new play starring television star Sumona Chakravarti takes a humorous look at modern-day relationships
IN TIMES where dating is as simple as swiping right, relationships have been a common muse for stand-up comics and twitterati alike. Now, there’s a play titled The Relationship Agreement, which offers an interesting take on the subject.
“When your partner gives you a set of rules — a list of likes, dislikes, things they approve, and disapprove — does it make your relationship better or worse? The lead couple in the play gets into a relationship agreement — a binding document drafted by them, to find the answer to this question,” says Meherzad Patel, writer and director, and founding member of Silly Point Productions.
The idea came to Patel on a night when insomnia struck. “I jotted down some pointers that should make it to an agreement for couples. I narrated it to my friends at the production house. They were sold on the idea and asked me to draft a play on the theme,” he adds.
The characters bear no names and are addressed simply as Boy and Girl. The aim was to avoid associating a religion, cultural background or ethnicity with them.
The play stars Danesh Irani, Sajeel Parakh, Meher Acharia Dar, Darius Shroff and television actor Sumona Chakravarti. “I chose the play because the script is exceptionally wellwritten, with a little of everything — humour, drama, love and anger. I found a slice of myself in the character I play,” says Chakravarti, last seen as Kapil Sharma’s wife on his talk show.
The Relationship Agreement marks Chakravarti’s return to theatre after eight years. “I started my career with English theatre in Mumbai. Theatre is a lot more challenging because there are no cuts or retakes. It’s doing the same thing for multiple shows and being consistent. I opted for television back then since theatre doesn’t pay your bills.”
For the male lead, a coin toss on stage decides whether Danesh or Sajeel will essay the role that evening. “They are both partners at our production company, and wanted to play the role. Each of them brings a different sensibility to the character. While Danish has great presence and comic timing, Sajeel goes deep into the character. The impromptu decision also helps keep the other actors on their toes,” adds Patel.
Shakespeare celebrations seem to have taken over the city. In another ode to the playwright, The Company Theatre’s Piya Behrupiya, a version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, is closing in on its 200th performance this month. After having performed all over India and across Asia, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, France, Chile, and Serbia, the play directed by Atul Kumar will be back in Mumbai, where it premiered.
(From left) Danesh Irani, Meher Acharia Dar, Darius Shroff and Sumona Chakravarti