The Madras Players in association with Crea-Shakthi will be staging Agatha Christie’s most popular play, The Mousetrap, at Music Academy on June 17.
The Mousetrap director Abhinav Suresh unravelled the story behind Christie’s play in Namma Chennai to B. Vijayalakshmi
Q Any special reason behind selecting and directing this longest running play in the world for our Chennai audience?
The play is special because it’s never been staged in Chennai before. Given Christie’s universal and cross-sectional appeal, and arguably her best work, you will seldom come across people who have not heard of it. We are making it extra-special by premiering it here with just one show. As far as my directing goes, that was a choice made by The Madras Players.
Q Is it the exact remake of Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap or have you adapted a few scenes to draw the attention of the local audience? If it is true to original why didn’t you prefer an adaptation?
It’s true to the original script, with very apt edits made by P.C. Ram, to keep it tight and crisp. We have an exciting twist in the end which works well for the play! And since this is Chennai’s first, why not! Given the reputation the play has globally, the characterisation, set and design of the play will certainly hold a very fresh approach, as compared to the several versions of the performance available on the internet.
Q Any hitches you face while directing this most popular play?
No hitches, really. The play itself is a bit dated. Keeping it fresh for a well-informed contemporary audience while retaining the essence of the 1950s, and getting the casting spot on, was not easy. Also, the several hundred versions of the play available online is a huge pressure to get it right, the first time!
Q How is to work with theatre veterans like P.C. Ramakrishna?
Having directed him on a couple of occasions before and vice versa, he brings balance, discipline and experience to the process. ‘Trust’ is a very important factor in this art form and I say we have an abundance of it between us. The role he plays in The Mousetrap is one he has never attempted before, and he thoroughly enjoys doing it.
Q How has the response been to English plays and Crea-Shakthi’s initiatives?
Encouraging, yet unpredictable. The audiences respond well to established authors, popular titles and iconic classics. But it is lukewarm when it comes to choosing theatre as a recreation or over other forms of entertainment. It’s the responsibility of those who take to stage, to provide for quality and quantity and draw audiences more towards the real-milieu. As for Crea-Shakthi, the younger generation (Gen Y, Z) seems to have made a significant shift in realizing the latent potent of this progressive craft and its impact on their day-to-day interactions in increasingly challenging environments.
This is where our initiatives have shaped thinking, in making theatre based training a game-changer, laying the perfect platform for a promising future to keep this larger-than-life art form, alive and growing.