The Art of monologue -
Good Hands and Godspeed
A Review By
Posters: Good Hands & God Speed
The art of the monologue is probably as old as theatre itself and in drama an effective technique of addressing an audience directly. In the long tradition of oral storytelling the voice and demeanor of the storyteller /actor creates the tension required to keep the audience glued to their seats.
In the 2 monologues Good Hands and Godspeed performed at the Attic everyday during the week 27th July – 2nd August, writer and director Neel Chaudhuri shows that he has mastered the technique of the casual monologue. Not for him the Shakespearean declamatory style but the ordinary, mundane stories of the not at all famous and the not at all heroic. It is the innate skill of the author and quiet elegance of the actors Momo Ghosh and Kriti Pant that create an immediate rapport with the audience who feel they are listening to stories told by a couple of friends one relaxed evening in their living rooms.
Momo Ghosh, in ‘Good Hands’ talks about his friends as if they were characters from a comic book. He addresses a class on ‘Contemporary Graphic Fiction’ and the mythical non heroes spill hesitatingly out. Cultivating a style with lots of er’s and um’s he admits to being influenced by Paul Asters ‘The Brooklyn Follies’ to create the private histories of his fictional acquaintances without names. The narrator himself is just ‘The Man’ (shades of Beckett as “Speaker“ in ‘A Piece of Monologue’) and the characters, The Guide, the Malapropist, The Prince and The Pauper, Mortis are common nouns that are turned into characters who perform actions that amuse and entertain their friends. Both author and actor have fun, the author with his facility for words and ideas and the actor who has mastered the art of the studied pause and the hesitant phrase.
Kriti Pant ‘The Girl’ in Godspeed walks into a cluttered room full of boxes and ‘records’ (pun) and memories. Apparently a young man has just died but she seems more interested in philosophizing about wasted young lives in general, not this one in particular. But no she’s just teasing, it is this young man in particular and was that a voice choked with emotion at the end? Flipping through the young mans music collection she draws you slowly, casually into his life and sudden death. She plays some music, talks about his favourite songs, reminisces about illness, gives you that long sideways coquettish look, pauses, decides that she can trust you with just another medical anecdote. By this time the audience is enthralled. More music. This is delicious, why did it have to end so soon?
Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri – Artistic Director , The First City Theatre Foundation.
Editor: Manohar Khushalani
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