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Three plays and Haruki Murakami

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-06-2017 Sohini Sen

Imagine coming across a girl who seems to be perfect for you. Will you strike up a conversation or just hope that destiny will work its magic? Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s short story On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, which deals with this “what if” question, is the inspiration for a new play by The Play Factory, a theatre group.

“I started reading Murakami’s novels around a decade ago, and his short stories about five-six years ago. And since that time I have wanted to do something—a short film, a play, anything—around a few of the stories from his short-story collection, The Elephant Vanishes,” says Mohit Mukherjee, co-founder of The Play Factory.

The three plays from it that will be presented this weekend are On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, Sleep and The Second Bakery Attack. The first one deals with a chance encounter—the writer sees a girl he thinks will be perfect for him. Sleep is about a woman who has had a terrible accident and can no longer fall asleep, and how she deals with this. The Second Bakery Attack is the story of a newly-wed couple who find out that no matter what they eat, they remain hungry. 

Rehearsals for ‘Murakami Monologues’. Courtesy The Play Factory

All three plays are monologues that keep the use of props, light and sound design to a minimum. “Murakami’s writing is often largely surrealistic. We wanted to bring that into the performance without getting swayed by props, etc.,” explains Mukherjee, who has directed all three plays.

The cast consists of Varoon P. Anand (On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning), Devika Rajpal (Sleep) and Pranjal Vaid (along with Rajpal, in The Second Bakery Attack).

“Each story we are portraying has an element of the other-wordly, of the supernatural. For example, in On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, my character sees a girl who he thinks is not just attractive, but actually 100% perfect for him. He actually puts it in mathematically precise terms,” says Anand, who is also the theatre group’s producer.

The Play Factory hopes that this first production will help it showcase the duality of characters. “There is always more to characters than meets the eye. In Sleep, this lady who cannot sleep should be fatigued and tired. Instead, she finds that her senses are sharper and more involved than before. It is interesting to see how different experiences or situations make us react in completely unnatural ways,” adds Mukherjee.

Murakami Monologues will be staged on 3 June (7pm) and 4 June (8.30pm), at Instituto Cervantes, Hanuman Road, Connaught Place. The plays will be in Hindi and English. Seating is on first-come, first-served basis

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