During the play, Morrie mentions a line from a poem of his favourite poet WH Auden: Love each other or perish. This line makes up for what the play ‘Tuesdays with Morrie‘ tries to convey, in the one and a half hour span. A JTPAC project in association with NCPA and AKVARIOYS Productions, this play directed by Meera Khurana is based on the bestseller book by the same name written by American writer Mitch Albom. Though comparisons with the book might seem important, one can easily overlook that and focus just on the play which does make for a fine watch.
Headline: Tuesdays With Morrie
Direction: Meera Khurana
Actors: Akash Khurana, Adhaar Khurana and Lucky Vakharia
Adapted for the stage by Mitch Albom & Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on the book by Mitch Albom
A sports journalist, Mitch, recollects his relation with his Sociology professor, Morrie Schwatz, whom he fondly called Coach. A strange and beautiful bond builds between the two and on graduating, Mitch promises Coach to keep in touch, but 16 years on, he forgets to. Mitch becomes a top-notch sports journalist. But one show on his professor reveals that Morrie has a degenerative nerve disease and will be dying slowly and soon. So one Tuesday (that’s the day when Morrie used to have his classes), Mitch meets up with Coach and some unusual sessions begin. Morrie answers one question about life which is recorded by Mitch. The topics range from love, life, death and so on. Morrie does not hesitate from talking about dying and reality is touched upon, with a touch of humour and pragmatism.
It is an unusual subject and the manner in which things are touched upon might amuse you. But the fact is, you easily accept certain realities so much better in this fashion. Morrie does not hesitate in talking about death, his illness and how he failed his dying mother. Mitch, on the other hand, deals with his own issues better, thanks to his meeting with Morrie in his dying years and recording the talks. A big part of the play’s gripping nature goes to director Meera for dealing with the whole subject in a more relaxed manner without being preachy and yet making a point. This adaptation works for our benefit.
It is also the acting which probably works for the play. Akash Khurana as Morrie breathes life into the play with his portrayal of a man whose passion for life refuses to leave him even when he cannot move an inch without help. His Morrie does not live on sympathy and one respects him for having a beautiful outlook towards everything. You smile even when he organises a funeral for himself while still alive. Adhaar does disappoint you a bit. The character of Mitch is someone who has issues and keeps struggle with it. But we do not see that struggle in Adhaar. But even his half-hearted attempt is worth an applause, especially since he is pitted opposite Akash.
What supports the play in an exemplary manner are the set design and a fantastic use of lighting. The set divided into four part denote the areas well, right from Mitch’s office to Morrie’s home to a bench in the outdoor area and a car. But one can call the car a lame effort as it has a sofa for seating. Each lighting used denotes the moods and emotions of the time and scenes well.
‘Tuesdays with Morrie‘ lets you handle issues like life and death, in an easier fashion. It lets you be happy with the fact that life does not end with death. Though certain issues might make the play stumble, certain elements do lend a supportive hand for the play to sail for one and a half hours. I end the review with another line or two from Auden who Morrie likes; There must always be two kinds of art: escape-art, for man needs escape as he needs food and deep sleep, and parable-art, that art which shall teach man to unlearn hatred and learn love.
Photo Credit: http://jagrititheatre.com