Entertainment

Katha Ghera’s adaptation of Same Time, Next Year is humorous, poignant and deeply resonant

  • Theatre Review: Love returns
- ABANI MALLA

Dec 4, 2018-

Doris and George meet once every year, in a spare, cosy room with a piano, floral sofa, tea table and telephone. They are both married, but not to each other, and in this room, annually, their illicit relationship develops. But as they continue to meet and talk, sharing the stories of their lives outside of the room, their bond evolves into something more than just a one-night stand.

Set in northern California, the play Same Time, Next Year is about more than just an affair, which is why it is ripe for adaptation. In Katha Ghera’s iteration of Bernard Slade’s seminal 1975 work, the two leads—Doris, played by Akanchha Karki, and George, played by Divya Dev—emphatically bring to life the inner worlds of their characters. Set in two acts with six scenes, the play takes place over a period of 24 years, from the 50s to the 70s, during which time the characters age and their lives, ideals, beliefs and proclivities change.  In this time, Doris goes from a college student to a businesswoman and George, while he stays an accountant, comes to terms with his infidelity and matures emotionally. All the while, the echoes of the outer world—the Vietnam War and the Hippie movement—all intrude on their private tryst, irrevocably changing them. Karki and Dev display such a palpable chemistry that one wouldn’t be wrong in mistaking them for a real life couple. 

“We enjoy confusing people, leading them to believe that we’re a couple when we really aren’t,” says Dev. The two have been friends for about three years in real life and they’ve wanted to work on this script for the last two years. Despite being set in a very specific time and place, the play has been able to reach a global audience, much to the surprise of even the playwright. 

“Anyone can relate to the honesty and humour of the dialogue,” says Dev. “The play has many layers of emotions. There’s so much of life to it. It’s a perfect play for any actor.” 

Although set in one room with just two actors, the play never becomes tedious, which speaks to the quality of the writing, along with the skill of the actors and director. There is a constant flow to the show, as if one were watching an enthralling television series. The costume design, orchestrated by Loonibha Tuladhar, reproduces the 50s, 60s and 70s in subtle fashion, supplementing its realism and the grounded nature of its characters and writing. Even the intimate scenes are smoothly executed, with just the right amount of light and shadow, creating tasteful innuendo.

“No play needs to have dramatic moments all the time,” says Karki. “Some plays can be subtle. One needs to be ready to watch realistic plays. As an actor, it helps you grow to take on such challenges.”

Directed by Che Shanker, the play aptly demonstrates the feelings the couple have come to develop for each other, not just as lovers but as friends. Doris says that she “can share anything without hesitating” with George. The play is alternatively funny and poignant, as the characters grapple with their lives, emotions and the changing world around them. It is a deeply resonant play that invites the audience into the world of the characters. 

Same Time, Next Year is playing every day, except Tuesdays, at the Kausi Theater, Teku. The play is recommended for viewers aged 16 and above.

 

Published: 04-12-2018 10:17

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