There have been many classic playwrights whose works have done wonders on the Indian stage. They may be of a different time and place but a few of their stories are as relevant as ever. You might have seen the works of playwrights like Reginald Rose, Arthur Miller, Franz Kafka, and more on the Indian stage. We caught another one of those classics produced by Little Productions titled One Flea Spare at Prithvi theatre. Because of a stellar team of the cast, the first round of shows at Prithvi theatre were already sold out.
The play first premiered at Bush in 1995 and since then there have been a lot of adaptations. The story is set in 17th Century London where Mr. William (Rajat Kapoor) and Mrs. Darcy Snelgrave (Dipika Roy) are hours away from being released from 28 days of quarantine. The city is ravaged by the plague and at this moment two strangers Morse (Kalki Koechlin) and Bunce (Jim Sarbh) enter their house. The enforcer of their quarantine Gabe (Hitesh Malukani) notices these two strangers enter the house and puts the family under another 28 days of house arrest. With four people forced to live their days and nights together, a lot of secrets are revealed and a lot of relationships change.
Unlike other plays, this is one of the rare stories where there are no modifications made to the story and the dialogues. You see the cast in an era-appropriate garb talking the language of the time. This play also marks Rajat Kapoor’s magnificent return to acting in theatrical productions. Kalki Koechlin plays a 12-year-old Morse in the play who has had a lot of adult experiences because of the plague. She excels in mixing childhood innocence with adult situations. While she is excellent, you cannot take your eyes off Jim Sarbh who plays a sailor and a part-time servant of the Snelgraves. He plays the most important role in changing the dynamics of the relationships existing within the house. Dipika Roy and Hitesh Malukani deserve a special mention as well for their fine performances on stage.
Rehaan Engineer’s decision to choose this play as his directorial debut is very brave. The playwright, in spite of being contemporary, has set the play in the 1600’s to show that we have not come very far from that time. Because of the excellent background score, there is also added emphasis on all the right moments.
The first half of the play might seem a little slow but the second half more than makes up for your patience.
One Flea Spare is a powerful portrayal of how there are some human behaviors that prevail even today and is performed on the stage by a spectacular cast. The power performances and the story will certainly keep your interest and will make your visit to see the play a wonderful day at the theatres.