Indian Ink – coming full circle

Indian Ink 2 Web
Just back from a phenomenal performance of Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink, directed by Carey Perloff. Saw Ms. Perloff in the foyer after the play and I told her that our first play at the Geary Theater was the ACT production of Indian Ink in 1999. We came back each year as season ticket holders for 15 years after that, and our numbers grew as the ACT plays became a way for our extended family and close friends to meet in the city. Now here we were at another production of Indian Ink. She told me it was full circle for her too as Firdous Ramji had played the son Anish Das in 1999 and now in 2015 he was playing the father Nirad Das!

Stoppard’s interweaving timelines are masterfully staged by Perloff at the Geary and that was what had enticed us in 1999. Since then we have seen excellent depictions of parallel timelines in The Invention of Love and Arcadia and now again in India Ink.

Brenda Meaney as Flora Crewe was both earthy and ethereal as demanded by the play. Her friendship and subsequent relationship with Nirad Das was crackling with chemistry. Roberta Maxwell as Eleanor Swan and Pej Vahdat as Nirad Das’s son Anish kept the mystery of Flora’s sojourn in India alive as they slowly peeled away the layers of the past. Who was Flora Crewe and what was her relationship with the painter Nirad? Anthony Fusco played Eldon Pike, searching for the details of Flora’s life, bungling his way through the mystery one footnote at a time.

If you have not seen it yet, then you have exactly one week to do so! This one is not to be missed.

Once in a Lifetime – when sound came to the silents!

Once in a lifetime one gets a chance to watch a play written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Only the lucky see it mounted as magnificently and as well acted as the ACT production of this classic. Continue reading

A brand new musical adaptation in THE CITY – Tales of the City

The American Conservatory Theater did it again – a wonderful musical adaptation of an iconic book that captured the essence of a city. When Armistead Maupin came to San Francisco he was securely in his closet but the city, and the sexual revolution that it was undergoing in the 70s, encouraged him to put his social experiences into a news paper column (that later made it into a book, and a TV series) and to come out of the closet.
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Sartre’s No Exit – Hell is other people!

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And now for new year resolutions! ahoy there 2011

I decided to make this list before the revelry of the 31st made me lose my judgment. After a few margaritas and some loud music one tends to make all kinds of resolutions that seem foolish the next morning. And then the guilt sets in. So this year I am starting early. In 2011 I resolve to:

1. Spend less time Twittering (I know I know – it is Tweeting) and more time reading. My stack of books is growing at an alarming rate and has been ignored for too long.
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A. R. Rahman’s marvel of light and sound – but where’s the music? (part 2)

I have so much to say about the AR Rahman Bay Area concert, a show that was stunning as a spectacle, but thin on the ground as far as music went.  You cannot have Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, Shweta Pandit, and Blazee as showcased singers and get a good music program.  OK there was Hariharan, but he sang maybe three songs and was hardly present.  The one exception, and possible late addition, was Shaan.  But Shaan has not sung much for ARR so we did not hear any of his signature songs!

Rahman himself sang some of his gems and one such number was Khwaja Mere Khwaja from Jodhaa Akbar.  Dressed in traditional costume, with a turban, and sitting on the steps on stage with a harmonium, Rahman did do justice to the song!  The crowd was in transports even though this is not a song that can elicit much audience participation because of its introspective nature.

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The golden silence of Olympia Dukakis – ACT’s VIGIL!

I was heartbroken when Marco Barricelli decided to leave the core theater company at American Conservatory Theater and move to New York. His flamboyance, his sheer size, and that deep voice had created many a wonderful character in ACT productions, the most memorable being that of Tony Roma in GlenGarry Glen Ross. So it was time to cheer when ACT announced that Marco would be back, in the Morris Panych written and directed VIGIL. That he would be joined by Olympia Dukakis, was the icing on the cake! Continue reading