The Story -
The story is about two South Indian immigrant married couples who are faced with extremities of success and failure in their professional and personal lives.
Jay, a very successful executive in a corporate firm struggles to establish a work life balance. Raj, a hard-working software engineer takes a new job after consecutive layoffs. With mergers, acquisitions and a changing economy, tension builds. Jay’s promise to spend time with his pregnant wife, Charu is broken and this leads to impulsive behavior. Raj is laid off again and is prone to spells of sadness and mental agony when he faces his wife, Priya.
What follows between them is a firestorm of rebuke, separation and disapproval. Then, the two families must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
Raj and Jay’s only solace is a psychiatrist, to whom they pour their heart out. This is where they meet for the first time and begin a new friendship. Priya’s interest in art and Charu’s fascination in interior design brings them together and helps them discover their true identities in their new world.
The Theatre Group -
Indus Creations is a south Indian Theater group based in Seattle. This is their fifth production. The story is adopted from a play hosted by Krea Creations of Bay Area. This play was also a fundraiser for AID India and was staged on October 3rd, 2010.
So, what makes this production – “A Tamil Play” so great?
First of all, let’s start with the plot. Iru Lives Oru Story has two things going for it to make it incredibly accessible for local audiences: It’s a story that immigrants can identify with, and it’s two hours long. That said, the story is not “easy” – there’s almost enough drama to take you through a swing of emotions. But the fact that the theme is familiar and that it’s real, makes it ideal for local audiences who don’t even speak or understand the language.
It helps expose them to the fact that “serious plays” can also be incredibly entertaining. A great deal of this entertainment, however, does come from the expert work of the director, producer, script writer, cast and crew of the play.
The play’s major strengths were the script and the acting. The set design elements of the play added immense value. Worth mentioning were the fireplace and the kitchen - they looked very real and established the right mood for the scenes.
Costumes were well- selected and lighting was great. A special mention about the music – it enhanced the overall effect of the scenes in a brilliant way.
The cast is marvelous with the main characters – Jay, Charu, Raj and Priya – played by Dhiga Sekaran, Aishwarya Sundar, Arjun Sundararajan and Ramya Sriram. After all these five years on the Seattle stage, I must say some of these actors have clearly mastered their roles and are proving to be dynamic in their performance. Delivering their lines with appropriate body language and such ease is a joy to watch and experience.
Secondary Characters were equally strong, notably the powerful Kari played by Anand Narayanan. He delivered lengthy dialogues with a great sense of precision. RSVP played by Sridhar Viswanath scored major laughs and was one of greatest assets of the script.
Other minor characters – the doctor (Vidhyashankar - apt) , the receptionist (Shweta – cuteness) and Kari’s wife (Chitra - charming) made their presence felt.
For the director and producer, there weren’t any important opportunities that they missed to convey to the audience.
The script was powerful. That said, I would've liked to have seen more attention paid to the length of some of the lines in the script, especially for Kari and Charu’s character. I assume they sensed a need for empathy and anger in those characters at an elevated level.
Some practical aspects, the stage imposed constraints in movement for the actors with Kari’s office setting. But the actors were capable of dealing with the script’s requirements.
Ultimately, Iru Lives Oru Story succeeds because it does two essential things: it both gives its audience what it wants, and contributes to the greater good of the society through a non-profit fundraiser in support of AID India.
It’s fun, serious, thought provoking and hilarious - and at the same time, it’s done with strong voices, and a strong cast and crew. This makes for an extremely satisfying entertainment experience, feeling somewhere between a play and a normal day-to-day immigrant life.
I honestly can’t think of better words of praise for Indus Creations – so please, by all means, take your family or your friends , or really even have a travel plan between now and the next year to swing by Seattle to watch the next play by Indus Creations.