you go to a beautiful theatre that is run by punctuality and anti cellphone nazis. which is as it should be. you watch chekhov's "seagull" in kannada.
you do this when you don't speak or understand kannada but fancy your interpretive skills.
you take your granma along. sitting in the front row, you ask her, "ki gal e?"
and then reply "seagulleh".
with aplomb, naturally. its the only way.
be that as it may.
a sinking feeling manifests itself, when the preplay announcement is completely unintelligible, apart from "cell phone switch off madi"
a hush falls. darkness, velvety. coughs and shifting in the seat.
the play begins.
it is a dialogue heavy play. everything is obscure. men and women stomp around, declaiming angrily. granma and i are stoic and silent when a witticism is made. we giggle helplessly when something looks funny. such as when stompers declaim angrily in kannada, ending with a "blah blah .. maadtini, YEVGENY ANDREVITCH!" or "hau da, petrushka?"
a girl wanders onto the stage carrying a stuffed toy that looks like a dead duck. that, presumably is the seagull. it flops about in her hands the way stuffed toy dead ducks are wont to do. she pats its head and sobs.
the eyes glaze over.
in the interval an usher speaks to us in kannada and is quite bemused that we don't understand.
drowning our incomprehension in bondas and sambar, we ignore the warning bells and the play resumes. we are not allowed inside. we flop about like the seagull.
without understanding what the play was about, i somehow managed to spend an appropriately chekhovian evening.
granma and i return to borsht, vassily ivanchuk and the wolves howling.