Vivek Madan on strides to integrate theatre with technology

By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANSlife) Bengaluru-based actor and theatre producer Vivek Madan, who has acted in Aadyam’s latest digital play ‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’ based on the story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, says he had a really challenging and fun time, especially “since we were engaging with a play after this long period of uncertainty about when we could be on stage again”.

In his theatre journey of over 20 years, Madan has performed in more than 30 plays, produced and toured with a dozen, and curated two national theatre festivals.

His current play, directed by Aakash Khurana, will be screened via insider.in’s online streaming service making it the second play of Aadyam’s Digital Edition. Adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, this is a comic take on the Sherlock Holmes story that turns a tale of terror into an engaging burlesque.

Asked about his personal experiences with the stories of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, he told IANSlife: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes books. I’ve read most of his stories though they’re now sort of blurring into one in my memory. Good time to revisit them. My favourite though, was and remains Silver Blaze.”

On his take on digital theatre and how different is it for him as an actor, he says: “It isn’t different for a recorded performance, unless the director is changing the blocking to favour camera angles and such, which wasn’t the case with this production. If the play is being streamed live, however, there are several new skills and aspects of craft which require consideration and rehearsal in their own right. I think asking and answering these questions is important, but so is doing work and seeing what comes of it. Some amazing strides have been made this year, globally, in integrating theatre with the internet (not just technology) and I hope we continue to innovate with integrity.”

The cast of the play includes Vivek Madan as Sherlock Holmes, Arghya Lahiri as Dr. Watson and Nadir Khan as Sir Charles Baskerville. Celebrating a cult novel from over a century ago, the artists along with the entire production team have created a piece that is thoroughly entertaining while delivering remarkable performances. The gloriously funny parody of this famous story becomes special with greater reason – the three seasoned actors – Madan, Lahiri and Khan – play not 3 but a total of 15 characters.

In a display of pure virtuosity and prowess, the veteran actors take up multiple roles in the play also adding to the comic element of the show. At one instance, Vivek Madan is Sherlock, at another he is the guard, the scary lady, Mrs. Barrymore, and several other characters. In similar fashion, Lahiri and Khan also essay multiple roles with effortless brilliance.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

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