The Play is the Thing

Playwriting is unique. And, playwrights are scarce. At least when compared to novelists. There isn’t one good or fixed way to write a play but ‘drama’ is key. This drama may take various forms; indeed it might be very subtle but in order for it to amount to something, or anything at all, it must necessarily make the journey from the page to the stage. In its outcome as a performance, the play by the very nature of its spirit and enterprise begins to acquire other stakeholders. The playwright knows this and at some point must let go. In Edward Albee’s memorable words, he “must let his guts hang out on stage.”

In our upcoming eNatya Chaupal on July 11 2014, playwright-director Ramu Ramanathan will engage Rahul daCunha of Rage productions about playwriting and Writers Bloc – a project inviting new plays in different languages and which Rage Productions has been spearheading in India in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre in the UK.

Be prepared to be immersed in an in-depth and spirited conversation about plays, playwriting and the stiff challenges that a country like India with its multiple languages and its differing and microcosmic socio-cultural peculiarities throws up.

Engage with two men, contemporaries and veterans in their respective careers, as well as close observers of playwriting in India. They have literally, and sometimes even daringly, ‘walked the talk’.

Date: Friday, July 11, 2014
Time: 7:30 pm (IST)

Rahul daCunha began his theatre career in 1984, directing Tom Topor’s courtroom drama NUTS.In 1991, his production of Gurcharan Das’s LARINS SAHIB was the first Indian play to be staged at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival. In 1992, he along with friends Shernaz Patel and Rajit Kapur founded their theatre company Rage. In 1996, he Indianised and adapted Herb Gardner’s I’M NOT RAPPAPORT – calling it I’M NOT BAJIRAO; he cast Boman Irani and Sudhir Joshi, directing it to over 200 performances.In 2002, he started writing his own plays – CLASS OF 84? (2003), traces his years at St. Xaviers College; PUNE HIGHWAY (2004) challenged the bonds of friendship in a severe crisis;ME, KASH & CRUISE (2008), reflects on 22 years of a changing Bombay. Rahul’splays have travelled to Scotland, England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Muscat Dubai and the U.S.Yasmin Alibhai Brown writing in the newspaper The Independent, London said of his play PUNE HIGHWAY, ‘It is as powerful and challenging as ‘Look Back In Anger’ in 1956 & Pinter’s early work.Apart from being a director/playwright daCunha’s ad agency daCunha Communications creates the famous Amul billboards that amuse India on a daily basis.

Ramu Ramanathan is a Mumbai-based playwright and theatre practitioner with several critically acclaimed plays to his credit. These include COTTON 56, POLYSTER 84 produced by Arpana and JAZZ by Stagesmith. His book 3, Sakina Manzil And Other Plays, is a collection of eight plays, published by Orient Blackswan in collaboration with the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. His recent work includes COMRADE KUMBHKARNA, produced by the NSD (National School of Drama) Repertory and POSTCARDS FROM BARDOLI, produced by Working Title. Ramu writes about theatre and works unceasingly with young people, delivering talks and conducting workshops around the country.

We welcome 10 participants. Participants can engage with Ramu and Rahul post the conversation. They can share their views and ask questions. To be a participant, you need to email us at with your brief bio and a few lines about why you would like to participate. Since we can select only 10 participants, we advise you to write to us as soon as you can and no later than July 9 2014.

The decision to select the participants will be at our discretion. If you are selected as a participant, we urge you to take responsibility and not back out as every seat is valuable and someone else may lose out if you cannot keep your appointment.

The Play is the Thing

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