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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Elfth Knight

Contemporary Indian theatre has a dark hero

Elfth Knight
Jitender Gupta
Elfth Knight
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Deja vu. It strikes you while watching Atul Kumar’s plays—and not always because of the proceedings on stage. It surfaces at the irrepressible laughter of the aud­ience, the unabashed app­lause at regular intervals, the happy feeling of having been thoroughly entertained. It was triggered again by Noises Off, his latest production of Mich­ael Frayn’s slapstick play, which after shows in Bangalore and Mum­bai, ran three days at Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium to full houses last week. In the green room a couple of hours before the first show, Kumar, dressed in trademark hat and jeans and T-shirt, appears a picture of cool but is admittedly jittery. “There is no theatre without that feeling of nervousness,” he says, running back and forth between the green room and the stage, where the elaborate setpiece, a two-floor house, is coming up.

In the last couple of years, the fortysomething Kumar has become one of the most popular directors and actors of contemporary Indian theatre, expertly treading the fine line between...

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