To single-handedly hold the anxiety of an audience for 90 minutes is no mean feat. And Vinay Pathak successfully manages just that in a remarkable monologue act for the play “Nothing like Lear” staged at Prithvi theatre.
Directed by Rajat Kapoor! Well this was reason enough for me to have my seats booked for the evening while in Bombay for a day. It was his play, ‘Hamlet-The Clown Prince’ and my first that had got me to fall in love with theatre. This time too he sure knows how to keep his audience coming back for more. Prithvi holds the “Come early grab a good seat” thing. So seats taken we were excited for the play to begin.
Clad in a not so perfect suit, big shoes, a hat and a suitcase (psst: reminded me of Bheja Fry:P) a clown enters the stage 5 mins prior saying “It hasn’t started yet, continue your work”! Had I not known the lone cast before I would not have recognized Vinay Pathak dressed well to his character! So begins a roller-coaster act. This clown was not here to just make you laugh but to share his agonies as a father, a brother and a son. Humor tagged along as a well-placed emotion amongst all these bouts of sentiments.
The ramblings were various threads from his life woven together to form a see-sawing tale that had the audience engaged. They crackled with ripples of laughter on his witty lines, listened with anxiety on his relation and love for his daughter and drifted to his childhood sagas with his brother and father with equal enthusiasm. My favorites were his spontaneous entertaining lines right there in response to some audience talks. That’s what I think differentiates the skills of an actor on stage and in reel.
To end, Vinay Pathak I knew was a commendable actor but to see his various shades of emotions through this act just established his praiseworthiness. And Rajat Kapoor is a grounded man. Even after the show like always he is there to listen and greet his audience’s verdict. I would not compare it with Hamlet but Nothing like Lear was ace for a monologue act to be.
Is it playing at a theatre next to you? Go watch it and give your verdict. And if not go make a trip to Prithvi’s. Its vibrant atmosphere will sure play its effect and make you fall in love with theatre like me!