In General

Thumbs Up For Five Point Someone

Turning a best-selling novel into a play has its own set of advantages and challenges. Advantages: the book sells the play, draws in the crowd. Disadvantages: the crowd that’s drawn in comes with higher expectation, and thus higher pressure on the cast to perform well.

The ‘Five Point Someone’ folks clearly turned that disadvantage to their advantage. The performance by the cast was outstanding and the adaptation near brilliant.

This play is a fitting tribute to the 50 years celebration of Madras Players. During conversation with PC Ram, his eyes twinkled with pride when he said that while the book’s characters are set is IIT Delhi, the author is in Hong Kong, the national premiere happened in Chennai.

The show ran to a packed hall. Thanks to a friend coming in late, we had to trade our plum first row reserved seats for the last row corner seats. I regretted even more when some of the softer dialogue weren’t audible enough. Yup, like a true play, they didn’t have microphones on the stage.

The biggest laughter and the loudest boo came for this particular line. A visibly upset IIT professor, pissed that one of the students couldn’t answer a simple question says “The standard of the institute is going down day by day. What are you? Commerce students?” The crowd clearly comprised of engineering and errr… let’s say, non-engineering students. You know where the laughter and the boos came from!

The Museum Theatre is a fantastic venue. It’s a semi circular hall steeped in vintage grandeur. Shot this after the crowd moved out.

Check out the wood carvings. Magnificent.

The stage set however was overtly simple. Might have been budgetary constraints. Another area for improvement could be the duration. I felt the single stretch of a 2 hours 20 minutes was a tad too long. I could see folks around me get a bit fidgety.

Seen here is the cast and the crew having an internal meeting and doing a postmortem of their performance. The man whom everyone is attentively listening to is PC Ramakrishan, the main guy at Madras Players. The lady in blue sari is Nikhila, the awesome director of the play. Her face looked familiar and I knew why when she came across and said hi. I had delivered a talk at the company she was working in and that’s where we had met. The three guys sitting down are the three main characters in the play. Vidyuth (not in picture), our marathon running mate shone as one of the character’s alter ego. The stage decoration head pleasantly turned out to be Mahesh, who is also helping us out with the stage setup for at, coincidentally, IIT Madras.

I wish there was a website which had the profile of the cast members which I could point to. They absolutely deserve exposure. Maybe we can convince Nikhila, the director, to get this up.

If you are in Chennai and want to spend a good two hours this weekend, I’d strongly recommend you go watch ‘Five Point Someone’ play.