Celebrating the Parsi way of life via theatre
Through all its plays, Meherzad Patel’s theatre company, Silly Point Productions, celebrates the Parsi way of life. As the company turns six, we look at its journey, and how Patel created a niche, with several original productions to his credit- the latest being, The Buckingham Secret, which was recently staged in the city. We get him talking about his plays’ themes, about comedy, and more.
What prompted you to write a play about the British royal family?
They are in the news more than anybody else. A royal wedding is watched more than the swearing in of the Prime Minister of India. You go to any Parsi home, and you will find a minimum of one photo of Queen Victoria, King George, Queen Elizabeth II or anything royal, up on the walls. There is a craze behind them. I wanted to capture them, bring them down to our level, and expose them when no cameras are looking.
What’s the state of Parsi theatre in Mumbai?
Theatre will always do well, as long as original scripts are around. The minute we start staging plays that are 50 years old, we cut our audience by half. It’s the same for Parsi theatre. We’ve revived the genre with our set of original plays over the past few years.
Most of your plays are comedies. What are the challenges you face?
The rehearsals of a comedy play are most tedious. In a serious play, you feel good when you deliver a line well. But with comedy, you never know if the line is funny until the opening night.
What has the journey for your group been like?
We’ve been celebrating six years this past week, and it’s a journey that has been tiring as a producer. You feel like you’ve aged 10 years after each play. But it’s a journey that isn’t mine alone anymore. I share it with my partners – Sajeel Parakh, Danesh Khambata, Darayus Subedar, Sharmeela Kazerouni and Danesh Irani. So long as we have each other’s support, the journey will continue.