(with apologies to a wonderful and entirely faithful-to-the-master TV series of that name dating to the 1970s)
After a couple of days of gloom, let us smile a bit.
It was billed as two hours of sheer nonsense and The Man from Madras Musings quaked in his shoes. For it also claimed to be based on the works of Perhaps Greatest Writer (PGW), an author whom MMM has venerated for years. In fact, MMM has often proudly stated that he came to read PGW and lived happily ever after. This has largely contributed to MMM’s goofy outlook on life, one that borders on madness, for which if you recollect some reader of Madras Musings suggested that he (by which he, the letter writer, meant MMM and not he, the letter writer himself, if you get MMM’s point) ought to see a good psychiatrist, or is it a psychologist? MMM always forgets which. Anyway, such missives pass by MMM like the idle wind, which he respects not.
Anyway, to get back to the point at tissue, as police constables have often said in PGW’s works, MMM saw the advertisement for the staging of a play based on the writings of PGW and was immediately hoisted on to the horns of a dilemma. To attend or not to attend was the question. Lady Macbeth, had she been around, would have termed MMM as being infirm of purpose, letting he dare not wait upon he would, like the poor cat in the adage. And then MMM saw the price of the tickets and decided that he would rather not. But a venerable lady member of MMM’s family, who believes in scattering sweetness and light, decided otherwise, went ahead and bought a ticket and, so, off MMM went, to see the play, plagued with misgivings all the way. The native hue of resolution was sicklied o’er by the pale cast of thought. The chief reason for this was that MMM had seen several stage/TV adaptations of the Master’s work and all of them had come unstuck chiefly because those who did the adapting tried to be one step smarter than the original.
MMM has also sadly been made aware of a so-called author of the current day who has written a sequel to one of PGW’s series of novels. A copy of the book was gifted to MMM and he was repeatedly asked by the giver if he had read it and so he had to read it. But after a few pages MMM had to put the book away, unread. Now what would be the mot juste to describe this so called sequel? MMM knows that eggs come into as does rage – ah! He has it. Egregious. MMM hopes that this wannabe author has since been devoured by bears, rather in the manner of the youth who made fun of the Prophet Elisha.
But as for the play, all went well. Arriving at the venue he found the audience to be small – 350 people for an auditorium that could seat 1,500. This was chiefly because, as MMM said, the price of admission was rather high – in four figures. This for a city that rejoices in being the cultural capital of the country chiefly on the strength of programmes that are marked ‘All Are Welcome’. That tag incidentally is made possible mainly because such events manage to rope in what are referred to locally as ‘sponsorers’ who fork out the moolah hoping for some ‘bubblicity’. And so, the city largely has literati and glitterati who largely litter and glitter at free events. The moment they saw the ticket prices they no doubt drew in their breaths sharply and shook all over like a cat hit in the ribs with a brick.
Well, all MMM can say is that they missed something. The play, entirely faithful to a particular work of PGW’s, was just what the doctor ordered. MMM does not recall a theatrical performance that he enjoyed as much. It brought the sunshine back to his cheeks and he now goes about strewing roses from his hat.
Among those whom The Man from Madras Musings noticed at the play was a Law Lord of our city. Given his exalted status, he was seated in the front row, where he was pretty much alone, what with the audience being sparse. A key aspect of the play was the stealing of a policeman’s helmet and the difficulties in its disposal. There was a moment when a member of the cast had to thrust the helmet at someone in the audience and they chose Law Lord for it! It tickled MMM no end and he is sure that PGW would have been amused too, had he been around.