If Gurgaon has a sweet spot, it would have to be the blob of concrete on the long swaying road off GoldSouk: Epicentre. I once made friends with a girl from Calcutta there, at least we could see the sky, we mused. I once concluded there that the Delhi theatre scene wasn’t a patch on the Mumbai theatre scene- I enjoy theatre that ends in the professional touch of a rolling film credit, not a soppy family affair. And, I once bought bathroom accessories in Jaipur Blue, and I’m still dreaming of a house good enough to match.
Then, I went to Epicentre again- you cannot not return. We watched the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival, a concept from Australia. Over 2 hours, there were 10 short 10-minute plays, by different directors and sharing different stories. We moved from the wails of a woman in partition Punjab, to the American torture tactics in Iraq, to a rich and troubled Delhi family, to a strange tale of mannequins in a window, and lobsters in a restaurant- both impersonated.
Unlike literature festivals, and advertising festivals, and perhaps music festivals (although, I’ve never been to a music festival) theatre festivals keep you more involved. At least, this one did. They handed us a little slip of paper, where we could vote for our favourite play at the end of the show. The top plays would make it to the finals round a month later.
The evening took me back to my favourite place in Mumbai. The Prithvi Theatre. It’s a small, free-seating theatre with affordable plays running every day. You see them all there- the love struck, the cynical, the enthusiast, the believer. Hanging by the cafe sipping Suleimani Chai all day, and checking into the auditorium for an evening show.
Ah, the little things you learn out of cubicles, and in open spaces, even those made of concrete…just watching people.