Jeet Thayil and Suman Sridhar raise some interesting questions as they accuse each other on stage, with their theatrical venture, The Flying Wallas: Opera Noir- a drama that combines the voice of a soprano with the voice of one musing through with an elegant tapestry of quotations. The musical pair integrate their version of opera with electronic background music and conversational English (including slang).
It all begins when a trapeze artist falls to his death and comes back to cry “MURDER”. Now a ghost, he accuses the other for not catching him on time, leading to his untimely demise. As the conversation heads along, the artists reveal details about themselves, the relationship with the other, the insecurities, the betrayal, the friendship, etc., until the ghost turns his attention towards God, embittered but still probing for he has these unanswered questions.
The contemporary noir production is not for a niche group, and going by the response at Prithvi struck a chord with the attendees, which covered a broad range of demographics. There’s a high chance of being amused by the verbal exchange, the moods and the quirky characters personified. Thayil does his part well, though he seems not too convinced with the assertions in the ‘libretto’. And Sridhar gets better by the day, whether acting on stage or crooning at a gig.
In short, The Flying Wallas: Opera Noir is an entertaining pretend opera for ‘the unpretentious.’