By Deepa Gahlot
Even seasoned actors get a little nervous performing alone on stage, and Minissha Lamba has no theatre experience. Still, she manages to hold attention for the nearly 75-minute running time of Saif Hyder Hasan’s Mirror Mirror.
The play, produced by Ashvin Gidwani is the English version of Aaine Ke Sau Tukde, which Hasan had staged around 2011, with TV star Shweta Tiwari. The story is narrated by Meenal, who is one half of a set of twins. To begin with, she resents Manya, and throws tantrums if her parents appear to pay more attention to her sister. Manya is adopted by childless relatives living in New York and Meenal becomes the centre of attention. Then Manya’s adoptive parents are killed in a car crash and she returns to her old home.
Meenal is a spoilt brat and hates Manya even more, since she is the well-behaved pet daughter of her parents. Without meaning to, Manya destroys the happiness of her twin, Meenal just gets increasingly angry, and in trying to hurt Manya, ends up harming herself.
There are no more shades to the plot, but one long whine by Meenal. And the ending is abrupt, without a satisfying resolution. Meenal who is painted as a rebel and femme fatale, is actually quite ineffectual. Perhaps she needed a touch of real evil.
Some characters’ voices are recorded, but Lamba voices the others, which means she has to use and extend her vocal range to differentiate between the various people, even if it means, oddly enough, that the important character of Meenal’s husband, sings the lines, and it is very irritating.
The costume given to Lamba is dull and unattractive—even though there are blackouts and points when she leaves the stage, there are no costume changes. The set is a strange mix of realistic and fanciful. The idea of projecting visuals on the floor is clever, but marred by random graphics, signifying nothing.
Performed on a large stage, the actor’s movements are worked out carefully, so that the entire space is used well. The play does have potential to grow into a watchable piece of theatre, if only the director can decide if he wants it to be a thriller, family drama or a psychological study of neurosis. If it is to be all three, then the ingredients have to be remixed.
English Play – 1 Hr 15 Mins
Written & Directed by Saif Hasan Hyder
Cast: Minissha Lamba
Posted on Sep 06, 2018
Time: Mon 01 Oct 07:30 PM
Location: NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best known entertainment journalists. A National Awardwinning film critic, Deepa has watched more movies and theatre than most people in the country. An author of several books on film and theatre, she has had an extremely successful run as head of theatre and film at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, during which she helped nurture several original productions. For Xyngr, Deepa Gahlot reviews theatre and cinema.