What defines life in the city? When the members of the Renegade Arts and Theatre Society came together to ponder this, they arrived at a single conclusion: Relationships. Life in the city is defined by a complex web of human interactions and they decided on a light hearted approach - five short plays make up the third edition of Urban Daze. RATS, which began as a theatre group when its members were still in school, wanted to use art as a social message. "Along the way, we thought of a slight shift from the major productions and do something more light and entertaining, along the lines of dinner theatre," says Naomi Menon, one of the actors in Urban Daze and a long time member of RATS.
The five plays take audiences through the gammut of human interactions and emotions, from strangers meeting at a cafe, and finding love in extraordinary places to finding closure with an ex. In What's the Meta, by Andrew Biss, two actors take the stage, with one role better defined than the other. "The point of this is that there is no such thing as a small role," says Joe Perez, one of four directors. "And when you're in a short play, every role is small!" Sure Thing, by acclaimed playwright David Ives, is a surreal take on human fallacy - Two people meet at a cafe that comes with a 'reset' button! "You have a girl sitting at the cafe and a guy walking in to sit at her table," says Perez. "We're full of mistakes in our interactions with people and it would be nice, sometimes, to have a do-over! In the age of Tinder, where we appear to have a checklist that will deem a person worthy of being with us, there's lots of room for error."
A young woman terrified of heights ventures onto a Ferris Wheel, in Mary Miller's play of the same name. Much to her dismay, the ride malfunctions just as she nears the top. "A man sitting beside her helps through this situation and romance blooms, in a most unexpected place," he says. Philadelphia refers to a metaphorical funk, with one friend having a very good day and another having a terrible one. "It's a fun little story about how they deal with it."
The Man Who Couldn't Dance is perhaps the most intense of the lot - two old lovers meet again, long after they have parted ways. The woman is married and her ex arrives to visit her after the birth of her child. "There's always that one person who got away," says Kaushik Narayan, another one of the directors. "The relationship doesn't end because of a lack of love and we never really stop caring about the other person. This play is about getting closure and the multitude of feelings that spring to life in these situations. We wanted plays that were entertaining and funny but not in a way that compromises on depth and poignance."
What: Urban Daze
When: December 9, 7.45 pm and December 10 at 5.30 pm and 7.45 pm
Where: Rangasthala Auditorium, Rangoli Art Centre, M G Road Boulevard, Near Metro Station, Shivaji Nagar, Near Anil Kumble Circle