SONATA Backstage Photos

Our very own Kush Patel, who also did sound for Sonata, took these brilliant photos backstage and in the lobby.

SONATA Tech Photo Shoot

Photos from yesterday's Technical Rehearsal. In case you're wondering who's playing what role, remember that we have two casts. Photo credit: Adam Pardee

Aruna's Sonata

 
 Anindita Mukherjee as ARUNA. PC: Ashima Yadava

Anindita Mukherjee as ARUNA. PC: Ashima Yadava

 

Most of us make many friends throughout the course of our lives. With the advent of social networks like Facebook and Whatsapp, the total friend tally may rank in the hundreds, and for some in the thousands. However, there is that select handful of friends we invariably turn to when we need a shoulder to lean on or simply to reminisce.  With respect to this category of friends, the words of the famous author Judy Blume especially ring true, “We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?”

Mahesh Elkunchwar’s  play Sonata, is a tribute to this bond of friendship that binds three women, Aruna, Dolon and Subhadra. The play gives us a glimpse into a mundane Sunday evening in the lives of these friends. As the evening progresses and the conversation flows with the wine, we get to know the friends better.  Their shared history, idiosyncrasies, aspirations, fears, failures and vulnerabilities are revealed through clever, witty dialogue laden with innuendo. The play is bold yet sensitive. The characters are complex, flawed, real and lovable and are bound to resonate with the audience.

I will be essaying the role of Aruna Ranade, a no-nonsense Sanskrit professor. From the very first time that I read the script, I was impressed that the play is centered around an unconventional and underrepresented demographic in popular media.  I was even more surprised to learn that the play was written in 2001. Barring the occasional frivolous Hollywood film based on the exploits of “BFFs” on their girls’ night out or a wild vacation, the lives of strong, independent women in their 40’s has not really been a topic explored in meaningful literary works.

As the rehearsals progressed, the underlying layers started to peel away and I was blown away by the depth of the dialogues. I was able to relate to all three women in varying degrees.  I could see shades of their persona reflected in myself. I felt I have walked in their shoes at different points in my own life.

To me, Aruna, Dolon and Subhadra are metaphors for the three parts of a Sonata.  Different as they are, when they come together, they form a rich and beautifully textured melody that is bound to linger in the minds of the audience.

Aruna, the consummate professor, is guilty of speaking in quotes and I would be remiss if I did not share one in conclusion.

“The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when.” - Simon Sinek

Cheers to friends, old and new!

– Anindita Mukherjee

SONATA Cast Photos

Photos from our cast photo shoot. PC: Ashima Yadava Photography

Basab Pradhan as NATH

 
 Basab Pradhan as NATH. PC: Swagato Basumallick

Basab Pradhan as NATH. PC: Swagato Basumallick

 
Change and progress in society cannot be brought about by words alone. We must take action.
— Nath Devlalikar

Idealist Politician. An oxymoron, if there ever was one. An unstable equilibrium. Like a funnel standing on its narrow end. The gentlest of nudges and it falls down. But against the odds, Nath Devlalikar, the character I play, is very much an idealist politician.

Nath is a politician, albeit not a very successful one. His Socialist Party has no chance of ever coming to power in Maharashtra. But Nath is undoubtedly an idealist. Uncompromising on the democratic principles and Gandhian credo that he lives by. Until, of course, he does compromise, for the sake of his daughter. Which is the heart of the play.

An idealist politician. They don’t make them like that anymore. Perhaps that is why Tendulkar set the play in the early 70’s (even though he wrote it in 1983) and made Nath a former freedom fighter. When our freedoms are taken for granted, politics becomes less about ideals and more about gaining and holding on to power.

- Basab Pradhan

Kanyadaan is playing at Sunnyvale Theatre from April 13 to 28.

Kanyadaan Cast Photo Shoot

Swagato Basumallick's clicks from our Cast Photo Shoot.

Kartic Bhargav as JAYAPRAKASH

 
 Kartic Bhargav as JAYAPRAKASH. Photo credit: Swagato Basumallick

Kartic Bhargav as JAYAPRAKASH. Photo credit: Swagato Basumallick

 
"Given half a chance, the oppressed become the oppressors, the murdered become the murderers. There is no guarantee that experience leads to goodness in man. In fact he can become an even greater devil."

– Jayaprakash in Kanyadaan

There is no manual on how to live a good life.

Jayaprakash is the son of Nath Devalalikar, a freedom fighter and political leader. He has been brought up with the ideals of a principled Gandhian. These ideals are stretched to a breaking point when Jayaprakash’s sister Jyoti’s life is thrown in turmoil.

Kanyadaan, by Vijay Tendulkar, is a powerful story of how idealism often disintegrates when it comes into contact with reality. The play is directed by Sindu Singh. You won’t want to miss it!

The multi-talented Shekhar Hemnani

The uber-talented Shekhar Hemnani has been associated with our theatre company ever since we started out in 2014.

Shekhar has been the creative genius behind the promo films for almost all our plays. He has this uncanny ability of taking a brief narration of the plot and central theme of an upcoming production – and then, just like that, coming up with a brilliant idea about how to best capture the essence in a short promo video. And off we go from there! Shekhar manages the creative process from the concept, to the shoot, to editing, to the final product that emerges, which always manages to leave us in awe.

A collection of the promos Shekhar has filmed for us is featured on our YouTube channel here. If you've been a regular patron, it is a nice trip down memory lane. If not, you'll get a feel for the kind of theatre we do through Shekhar's lens.

Shekhar is also a writer. A poet. And a music lover. For our adaptation of Ibsen's  A Doll's House,  he penned the beautiful lyrics to Koi Nazm Nahin, which was set to mesmerizing music by the Aalap Desai and sung by our own Sindu Singh. You can listen to the song here. He talks about Koi Nazm Nahin in the video embedded below.

Shekhar is the founder of Mausaki, a musical organization that counts Sufi, Hindustani and Western Classical, Jazz, Rock and Hip hop among its influences. Mausaki regularly organizes fantastic collaborations of music and poetry in the Bay Area showcasing local and international talent. He and his wife Rubina also run Arthrang, a lifestyle apparel brand. All this, with a day job at Oracle as Principal Product Manager and a one-year-old at home. Phew! Like we said, he is one multi-talented guy.

We are deeply grateful to Shekhar for all the amazing work he has done for us and look forward to a continued fruitful artistic partnership in the years to come.