We are probably inching closer to the reality of technology taking over mankind, because, come on — mobile phones are smarter than us, or at least, they’d like us to think so. With our emotions masked behind a veil of emojis, our smart screens seeing the world rather than our eyes and with India topping the charts with the highest number of selfie deaths last year, it’s safe to say that mobile phones are with us, for better or for worse.
Funded by The India Foundation for the Arts, Chennai-based theatre company Perch plays on this ‘phone-y’ logic in their production Monkey and the Mobile. Director Rajiv Krishnan tells us what to expect from the show.
“We had long wanted to do a play around objects that are part and parcel of our everyday life. The mobile phone was interesting precisely because it has become so much a part of our lives, and has had a profound influence on the way we relate to the world and to each other,” explains director, Rajiv Krishnan. The play may be a juxtaposition of seven stories, but each story treats the mobile/technology in a different way. “One of them carries with it the seductive dreams of a smart city, other stories include a farcical take on online surveillance, a pun on online avatars and identity crisis using the popular folk tale, Monkey and the Crocodile and another one containing memories of a recently deceased wife. A story called The Overworked Emoji is a comment on how we put on several masks in our day-to-day life,” adds Rajiv about the stories ranging from funny to what he describes as farcical and serious.
Since the play evolved out of a prospective theme, Rajiv agrees that it accounted for most of the challenges. “We did not have a script or story to start with, only a theme. So we had to create all the stories from scratch, through a lot of trial and error,” he says, adding that the audience has always appreciated the risks that the troupe has taken in creating the theatrical piece from scratch. Perch is no stranger to our city and has staged plays for 11 years and counting — everything from the popular Under the Mangosteen Tree and How to Skin a Giraffe to Jujubee.
The director hopes that we will enjoy and be entertained by the play that’s a canvas of different stories peppered with interesting characters, hummable songs and imagery. “It will also give you something to ponder about,” he promises.
Catch the play at Ranga Shankara on March 8 to March 11 at 7.30 pm and March 12 and 13 at 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm.