Comikaze VII – Hilariously Meaningful
There was an indomitable excitement running through the crowd once the lights went off. A fit of giggles had already ensued when the hosts, Ishina and Pavitra, started the night with a round of slapstick comedy and a few introductions. A number of shout-outs were given to the sponsors but it was safe to say that they were long forgotten once Comikaze began.
Things kicked off with the first play, ‘The Taxi’, performed by Dramanon Hyderabad. Two men: one taxi driver and the other, his supervisor of sorts, engaged in a heated argument regarding the driver’s current position. Unable to convince him for a pick-up, the supervisor lost his temper which led to more than one instances of roaring laughter across the auditorium. But unexpectedly, the hilarity more or less ended when the driver finally revealed his predicament; there was an unconscious women next to him. His first love. Things took a dark turn when the driver went on a psychopathic rant and at the end, the act seemed like something David Fincher would enjoy instead of an audience who came expecting comic wit.
The second, ‘The Secret of the Origin of the Mojo Man’, was a clear attempt to enact the classic American high school rom-com love story. Having the ‘Mojo’ was the superpower and it was essentially about Mickey, a shy adolescent, asking Tanya out. One could take this as an adaptation of sorts but with the lack of an accent and a clear Indian context, it seemed more like a lazy rip-off of a scene which could have very well fit into a movie like 21 Jump Street.
Things picked up drastically with ‘Fresh and New CIA torture techniques’. The genius behind it was how they turned each stereotype into something progressive. Expertly acted and well-executed, many gems, like the mispronunciation of ‘coke’ as ‘cock’, were weaved in seamlessly. Dhananjay Soin nailed the middle-eastern accent and played the prisoner to perfection. The act ended with the interrogators guaranteeing false promises to the prisoner and killing him. Despite the satire, there seemed to be a touch of authenticity to the script. After all, in this time and age, anything could happen in America.
Comikaze hit a stride with Dramanon Hyderabad’s ‘Guinea Pig’. Saurabh Sensharma, the driver from ‘The Taxi’, gave an incredible performance as the customer. The play revolved around two people; one who complained about there being a guinea pig in his soup and the waiter elucidating the reason. Brilliantly scripted with a simple premise, this act was the high point of the night. An example of this creative script was when the customer suddenly started patting himself everywhere barring the crotch. He was referring to the phrase ‘beating around the bush’. It was a comedy with blatant stereotyping and hilarious accents. The conversation turned philosophical when the Guinea pig was taken as a metaphor to explain a revolutionary society and capitalists controlling us. We were the Guinea pigs. The act attained the fine balance of entertaining and informing the audience. This in itself, was its biggest achievement.
Stereotypes and slapstick jokes were abundant but it was fascinating to see how self-aware each act was. Misleading the audience into thinking that the joke indicated stereotyping, but flipping it into something deeper was something Comikaze appeared to excel at.
‘A Growing Problem’ was a dip in the curve that was, Comikaze. A play on two old people in love took a turn when the man, a retired police officer, found out that his love was growing cannabis inside the house. The act suffered from a poor script and passable acting. Humor was either sparse or forced and the only highlight was the end wherein the woman chose cannabis over him and proceeded to smoke a very realistic joint.
Another play on two lovers was ‘A Wedding Story’. With an interesting spin on fairy tales, the act was hysterical and had the audience roaring with laughter when each half of the couple started spilling each other’s secrets. With jokes on fetish for black men and homo-erotica, the act was successful in delivering its message: Life is never as pretty as a fairy tale.
The final play, ‘This.Connect’ was performed by the wonderful cast from Dramanon Hyderbad who stole the show in every play they were in. This one was no different with Sourabh Sensharma, Rahul Premchandar, and RK Shenoy giving phenomenal performances as an electron, proton, and neutron. Infusing humour with real-life problems, the act brought forward a growing problem in today’s world: our obsession with the virtual world. A poignant moment was when the performer gave a speech on the neglected touch. “Ironically, we want to be connected despite all the connectivity” sighed Rahul as he implored the spectators to not forget the power of a simple touch.
Despite a few hiccups and some bouts of stale humour, Comikaze hit the mark and delivered to its potential. With near perfect lighting, sets, scripting, and acting, each play was a delight to witness with the performers flexing their talents to tickle every funny bone in the auditorium.