Theatre Interview: Dario Fo's The Virtuous Burglar or Kala Khatta

Updated: Mar 23

An adaptation of Dario Fo's THE VIRTUOUS BURGLAR played at E-Lab Studio. We have known many versions of his popular works playing around Delhi. It's nice to see some adaptation of the ITALIAN DIRECTOR in the city. The play was directed by MAHADEV SINGH LAKHAWAT, an NSD pass-out. Rasa Aur Drama interacted with the actor Roshan Singh who plays thief in the farce! Theatre in India is a growing cultural engagement!

Image Source: Roshan Singh

Rasa Aur Drama: As an actor, having done plays of Anton Chekhov, Albert Camus; what intrigues you to the works of playwright Dario Fo? Yes, there is mystery, suspense, and thrill! What do you think is the appeal of the playwright to the audience ?

Roshan Singh: To be honest, I have never done farce before KALA KHATTA. So farce itself intrigues me to be a part of the production of a Dario Fo work! I have read 2-3 of his plays but have never got a chance to perform...But, when our director Mahadev Bhai came up with this idea of this play, we were excited to do this. And farce itself is so effective and appealing to the audience; where sarcasm is a powerful tool. It makes you laugh on some stupid things that characters do in a messy situation.

Q2. What was the practice process like the duration of the sessions?

Roshan Singh: We followed improvisation process...we tried to adapt to the Italian way when performing in the Indian milieu or environment. The initial session with the director took place for three hours and as the performance date came closer, the practice session extended for 9 hours a day.

3. What is unique about working with director MAHADEV SINGH LAKHAWAT ?

Roshan Singh: Our director is also an actor and a NSD passout, New Delhi. He made a detailed and researched approach towards the text. He believes that improbable farce is probable and the impossible possible! So he told us NOT to do any characterization for the text. So, we got full freedom to experiment and whenever we had an idea; he polished it according to his vision. He guided us in preparing 2-3 alternatives of a character as we experimented in the initial phase of the rehearsal. It made us grow as an actor!

4. How were you able to justify yourself on stage; what is the process or journey of an actor on the day of the show?

Roshan Singh: I just believe in the situation written and in the director's vision...I think that is as much the actor's job and I try to be in the situation as it is directed. I want to add that I don't think much during the show...I want to keep it simple. Also, our director firmly believes that the actor should be clear in his mind and should be happy as we are doing farce. Also, the actor should enjoy the situation..so after some technical rehearsals, he made us dance to musician Daler Mehndi's tunes! And cracking jokes to make us laugh and relax!

5. How is the work of playwright Dario Fo relevant to the Pune audience?

Roshan Singh:Dario Fo was an Italian actor, playwright, comedian, singer, theatre director, stage designer. He is known for his farce and slapstick writings. Pune is one of the busiest city in the country...people work day and night...so we just try to crack people up...day and night...we try to make them laugh for 80 minutes; and it is a break they deserve from the serious and practical life; and provide them illogical and relevant comedy shots through this excellent text and play called KALA KHATTA!

The play is a part of constantly growing Indian Theatre.

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