Okay, so here’s what I want you to do:
- Get yourself to Bangalore. If you live here, it’s a relatively short commute in non-peak hours.
- Look up Jagriti Theatre in Whitefield and get tickets to Lysistrata.
- Try not to laugh too loudly.
- Be warned, though: The original play was pretty damn raunchy to begin with, and these folks haven’t watered it down in their update.
2500 years ago, a man named Aristophanes wrote a comedy about the women of Athens and Sparta going on a sex strike so that their men would stop fighting. The Jagriti version keeps the general plot and the names intact and updates the dialogue to include references to Bangalore landmarks and the odd current event. The result is a curiously anachronistic mishmash that nevertheless manages to tickle the funny bone throughout its running time.
Jagriti is a pretty small theatre — you sit so close to the stage that you feel almost part of the performance. On top of which, the dialogue breaks the fourth wall so often, it almost feels like a conversation with you rather than between the cast members. This can, in theory, be pretty distracting, but it works because the performances are so strong. Especially the ones by Deepika Arwind (Lysistrata) and Sukhita Aiyar (Calonice).
Aside: If I do have a complaint, it is that they don’t introduce the cast members at the end of the play, so I had to spend some time on the net to figure out who played who.
As anti-war works centered around women go, Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment still ranks number one on my list. But thanks to my experience on Saturday evening, Lysistrata comes a close second.