British Council in partnership with Teamwork Arts organised three solo plays in Delhi from 9th to 11th October 2014 as part of Going Solo, their 2nd International Theatre Festival. The plays were held at FICCI Auditorium and Stein Auditorium, IHC.
The three plays that were performed were Don’t Wake Me starring Jaye Griffiths, Guy Masterson starrer Shylock and If These Spasms Could Talk, a solo written and enacted by Robert Softley. The event arguably invoked all emotions possible through theatre.
Written by Rahila Gupta, Don’t Wake Me is based on a true and moving story of a mother’s fight for her disabled son’s rights. Halfway through the play, the son, named Nihal Armstrong, perishes. The ballad showcases the challenge of being the mother of a special child and the anger it brings with itself. Shylock is a humorous analysis of Shakespeare’s famous Jew from The Merchant of Venice. It’s written from the perspective of Tupal, a minor character in Shakespeare’s play with just 8 lines. The solo attributes connotations never thought before to Shakespeare’s play while subtly highlighting the plight of the Jewish community in olden times.
If These Spasms Could Talk, performed only once during the festival on the concluding day, is a touching and inspirational performance by Robert Softley, a patient of cerebral palsy. He gently takes the audience through dealing with his life. The performance was met with deafening applause.
The festival was acclaimed in Delhi and received an audience of over 200 viewers for all its shows. The organisers termed it as “a spectacle of brilliance, a phenomenon of inspiration and a collusion of emotions”. Other Indian cities on the festival’s map are Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai.