An orchestra as a character, you say?

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANSlife) Billed as ‘A play for actors and an orchestra, the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ new production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is a landmark theatre event that features an all-star cast and a 45-piece Symphony Orchestra of India playing live onstage.

For students of music, the title of the play is a classic mnemonic for remembering notes on the treble clef – EGBDF. The two principal protagonists of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour are inmates within the Soviet psychiatric prison system. One is a genuine schizophrenic – Ivanov is a triangle player who imagines he has his own orchestra. Alexander appears to be sane but has been declared insane for protesting against the regime. Ivanov’s imaginary orchestra, on the other hand, appears in a very real and tangible way onstage and is itself one of the principal characters in the drama.

Khushroo N Suntook expresses, “The NCPA continues to cement its reputation as the first multi-venue, multi-genre cultural centre in South Asia, making unique collaborations, such as this between theatre and Western classical music, possible. The Symphony Orchestra of India will show its versatility by providing the music in the NCPA production of Sir Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a play for actors and orchestra that is rarely performed. This production adds a new dimension to the theatre-going experience of the city’s audiences.”

Mikel Toms, who will conduct the SOI in the play, shared, “André Previn’s music skilfully parodies the work of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, both of whom found themselves on the receiving end of Soviet persecution… Their music is shot through with parodies of older, ‘safer’ music and Previn’s music in turn parodies their parody.”

André Previn, who was a prolific composer, an acclaimed conductor and an inventive jazz pianist, won four Oscars and ten Grammy awards including a lifetime achievement award in 2010. At the time of his death, there were about 44 titles published in his name as a composer including the 1983 play Rough Crossing and the unique Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, both by Tom Stoppard.

Bruce Guthrie, who is directing the play, feels the orchestra is the voice of the people, the society. “You get that wonderful line in the second scene where Sacha says, ‘I don’t want to be in the orchestra.’ Which is kind of like saying: ‘I don’t want to be one of the many in society.’ So it’s that idea of systems being designed that are supposed to be for our benefit, but actually constrain us. And then putting that into a kind of metaphorical sense with an orchestra onstage.”

Experience the brilliance at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA from November October 17, 2022 (IANSlife) Billed as ‘A play for actors and an orchestra’, the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ new production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is a landmark theatre event that features an all-star cast and a 45-piece Symphony Orchestra of India playing live onstage.

For students of music, the title of the play is a classic mnemonic for remembering notes on the treble clef – EGBDF. The two principal protagonists of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour are inmates within the Soviet psychiatric prison system. One is a genuine schizophrenic – Ivanov is a triangle player who imagines he has his own orchestra. Alexander appears to be sane but has been declared insane for protesting against the regime. Ivanov’s imaginary orchestra, on the other hand, appears in a very real and tangible way onstage and is itself one of the principal characters in the drama.

Khushroo N. Suntook expresses, “The NCPA continues to cement its reputation as the first multi-venue, multi-genre cultural centre in South Asia, making unique collaborations, such as this between theatre and Western classical music, possible. The Symphony Orchestra of India will show its versatility by providing the music in the NCPA production of Sir Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a play for actors and orchestra that is rarely performed. This production adds a new dimension to the theatre-going experience of the city’s audiences.”

Mikel Toms, who will conduct the SOI in the play shared, “André Previn’s music skilfully parodies the work of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, both of whom found themselves on the receiving end of Soviet persecution… Their music is shot through with parodies of older, ‘safer’ music and Previn’s music in turn parodies their parody.”

André Previn who was a prolific composer, an acclaimed conductor and an inventive jazz pianist, won four Oscars and ten Grammy awards including a lifetime achievement award in 2010. At the time of his death, there were about 44 titles published in his name as a composer including the 1983 play Rough Crossing and the unique Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, both by Tom Stoppard.

Bruce Guthrie, who is directing the play, feels the orchestra is the voice of the people, the society. “You get that wonderful line in the second scene where Sacha says, ‘I don’t want to be in the orchestra.’ Which is kind of like saying: ‘I don’t want to be one of the many in society.’ So it’s that idea of systems being designed that are supposed to be for our benefit, but actually constrain us. And then putting that into a kind of metaphorical sense with an orchestra onstage.”

Experience the brilliance at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA from November 4-6.

(IANSlife can be contacted at IANSlife@ians.in2022)

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