Ajay Krishnan

The playwright and web editor of Caravan magazine, on his play Trivial Disasters

Why do you write plays instead of the lengthy, ‘intellectually efficient’ Indian novel?

I love working with people—fighting, discovering, rewriting, rehearsing, laughing, napping.

How many plays have you written and how long is the incubation period for a play?

Ten or so. Some have happened overnight, while others have taken nine months of rewriting.

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What is Trivial Disasters about?

It’s a collection of ostensibly funny sketches, featuring, among others, a serial killer, a priest, a kidnapper, a broken electric kettle, a poet.

It began its life in the pubs of Bangalore. How do you feel about the larger production now?

It was a low-cost, simply designed show meant for small spaces. I’m curious to see what director Atul Kumar has done with it.

Is the interpretation at another level: what you have envisaged?

I’ll only know when I watch the show in Delhi.

Do you find it difficult to write comedy for the Indian public?

I don’t think comedy can be written ‘for’ an audience. Indians seem ready to laugh long and hard.

Do Indians have a sense of humour, considering that the political class and the religious-minded lack that bone?

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Slapstick, wit, dark satire, all coexist happily here. Some, true, aren’t known for their wit.

Your Butter and Mashed Bananas was full of surprises, segueing from stark verbal dialogue to Bharatanatyam dance-like chorus.

It was about censorship told through the life of a baby born to a Communist mother and a Hindutva father. Fun to make and perform.

What is it that triggers a play and how do you stitch those disparate elements seamlessly?

A need to say something or a dramatic impulse. Stitching is done at workshops or rehearsals.

What’s next?

I’ve been chewing on the idea of a political impersonator for a couple of years now....

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