Three cheers for four ladies on a ”˜night out’

Manisha Vyas as Kavya with Hyati Vyas as Ami and Aparna Tijoriwala as Gomti

By Neena Badhwar

This was a ”˜night out’, girls not painting the town red but stranded on an Indian railway station, in a ladies’ waiting room, as you know the trains in India are forever known to be late, this one delayed by six hours.

It is raining heavily, lightening and all, all stuck in the room, waiting, unable to connect to their families, or head to their chosen destination. Their destiny has some other sinister motive having brought them together under one roof by chance.

This Gujarati play with a spattering of Hindi and English, the dialogues are hilarious. Wit, humour, innocence, rebelliousness, hate, anger, laughter, with cliches directed at each other, between the women, four different lives, with four different experiences. Yet, they mirror the society that we live in. Their appearances belie what is beneath their so called exterior. To connect them all is the entry by Aparna Tijoriwala as Gomti.

A loud, plump, talkative, typical housewife, who just does not stop cracking jokes, rather innocently, every dialogue just keeps you laughing all the way. Her character irritates you, as she pokes questions at you, enters your personal space without permission. She is illiterate, doesn’t know modern etiquettes, neither can you stop her as she babbles on, irreverently or even otherwise,  other three do not want to know her or answer to her silly questions.

Then again she is the most adorable a character she depicts. When no one is ready to speak to her then it is the old radio sitting on the side which takes the flak from her. Aparna as Gomti is overbearing yet wins the audience’s attention as well as heart. Her every antic, she is the centre, non-stop.

Zarmar Pandya as Suman with caretaker Bijal Shah

Zarmar Pandya’s role as Suman, a calm and a quiet teacher by profession, is the first one who gets Gomti’s nagging attention. Once the exterior is broken, the next one is the angry, private, corporate style modern Kavya played by Manisha Vyas. One dare not go near her, but Gomti does. Kavya tells her to lay off, she a victim of men, has no patience to Gomti’s speech like character, regarding men and their world, retorts Kavya, “Why we face torture is only because we tolerate it”¦ ”. Hyati Vyas as Ami is rebellious, hurling abuses, her manner quite hostile, a totally belligerent of a girl. Thus the story slowly unfolds as audience can make out some kind of connection between her and Kavya.

The writer of the play is Manish Desai, adaptation and direction under Vipul Vyas, both men, ”˜Girls Night Out’ is a play that is hilarious but close to reality how in the current times, with women coming out in the ”˜me too’ era and speaking up about the treatment they have received at the hands of men and society thus which promotes such attitudes. Natak Mandali’s third play is a good choice, in Gujarati it is, but resonates with all in the audience.

All women team in the front and at the back of stage

Brilliant performance by all the four women, though Aparna, an excellent actor that Sydney has produced, she kept everyone engaged, overbearing, but, perhaps you need characters written like her who dare to dig out the dirt, and obviously all that goes on in the misogynistic society that tries to sweep things under the carpet.

Due to popular demand, two more shows are in the pipeline, one on May 23, 2021, confirmed to be staged at Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill, and the next one in June will be announced later. Don’t miss this excellent play.

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