30 August 2009
There was a tea shop. Then there was a tea shop owner. There was a man in love. There was a woman who swore she wasn't in love. There was a card sharping father. And then there was the village pickpocket. There were two quirky love stories. There was Moonshine. And then there was Skytoffee.
On 28th, 29th and 30th of this August, at the New Hazlett Theater Pittsburgh, Sandhya Krishnan weaved her magic and showcased the interwoven love stories 'Moonshine and Skytoffee'.
Originally based on Vaikom Muhammad Basheer's work, the stories are about two unconventional love relationships - one between Kesavan Nayar and Saramma, and the other between Zainaba and the infamous Muthapa.
Kesavan Nayar (played by Christopher Cussat) is a pure romantic ... the 1940s black-and-white lover who could give his life to prove the unblemished nature of his love. But Saramma (played by Monica Jogi) seems to have no regret in taking away Kesavan's life. And herein lies the problem. Love's labor lost. Saramma reciprocates to Kesavan's poetic outbursts in very ungrateful manners.
However, for Zainaba (Jackie Omotalade) and Muthapa (Arvind Suresh), it was love at first sight. How could Zainaba protect herself from the titillating pickpocket's charms? It would have been a walk-in walk-out love story had not the unforgettable Otakannan Pokker (Sam Nicotero) stepped in between. How could a card sharper, a master at his art, who had amassed enough money to have any son-in-law he wished for, give his beautiful daughter away to the village scoundrel?
But very few understand the boundaries of love ... because it has none. Neither the Pokker, nor the 'playing hard to get' character of Saramma, or any other circumstance prevent this flow of love. And the love flows on... be it when Saramma blows the hand fan ensuring her Kesavan gets a good night's sleep before 'their' journey the next day ... or when the shrewd Muthapa beats the Pokker out of his own game (thanks to Zainaba actually) pushing the Pokker into yielding to this wedding.
The acting was fantastic; the use of variable shades of lighting did a lot to add to the moods of the scenes. Zainaba and Saramma were classic; you couldn't help feel for Kesavan with his mystical abilities to move mountains for his love and yet fails to impress his counterpart. Muthapa was a treat to watch ... his uncanny abilities to convince you about how pickpocketing is a selfless art must have made a lot many in the audience seriously re-consider their professions. Pokker, as I keep saying, is unforgettable.
Two adorable love stories ... two adorable couples ... one tea shop ... the unforgettable Pokker ... Moonshine ... Skytoffee.
It was a jolly good show!