“Chinese Coffee” at Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre
The play “Chinese Coffee” will be staged on July 5 and 6, 2014 at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai
There are two reasons for us to return to Prithvi Theatre with this play. First is the universal appeal of the play, which has only increased since its inception in 1992. The two central characters are men in their middle-ages grappling with failure & penury but still just about keeping their heads above water. Yet, their discourse is alive, their jabs sharp, and their words smell of hope. I’ve been witness to many such conversations; my midlife friends, crisis-ridden but still hoping and planning. This play speaks to them, to me, to all of us who are in this perpetually transitional mode in our lives. Second, we just managed four shows in Mumbai last time and a lot of people missed out on the play. They have, since then, requested us to stage the play again.
Chinese Coffee: A Synopsis
The Hoshruba Repertory‘s new play, Chinese Coffee by Ira Lewis, is a claustrophobic, dark, black comedy about friendship and the loss of it. The original play, which was a comeback act for Al Pacino, opened to rave reviews in the early 1990s in the U.S. The Hoshruba Repertory opened the play for the first time in India in 2012, and our production, starring Vrajesh Hirjee and Danish Husain, directed by Danish Husain, opened to ecstatic reviews at Epicentre, Gurgaon on May 12 and 13, 2012.
Harry and Yaqub are two friends and failed artists. Harry is an obscure novelist, and has just written a third novel. He has given the manuscript to Yaqub for his feedback. Yaqub a brilliant writer, wrote two critically acclaimed short stories when 19, but is now a photographer & lives modestly. Some time ago, Yaqub had taken a loan from Harry but failed to return it. On this particular night, Harry is broke and thrown out from his job at a chic French restaurant. He barges into Yaqub’s studio apartment to recover his money. But Harry has another agenda too, he is keen on Yaqub’s views about his new novel. Yaqub initially sidesteps Harry’s incessant almost psychotic probing but as the evening unfurls, it turns out that Yaqub has read the novel but pretends he hasn’t. And then everything the two friends shared until then slowly comes undone in the course of the evening — friendship, love, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angst, broken affairs, and countless other unshared events.
A play by Ira Lewis
Directed by Danish Husain
6 pm & 9 pm, July 5 & 6, 2014
Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, Mumbai
Cast: Vrajesh Hirjee, Danish Husain
Set Design: Siddharth Mathawan, Sandra Pfiel
Light Design: Shawn Lewis
Costumes: Isha Ahluwalia
Properties & Stage Management: Faizullah & Ahyan Ghani
Production Manager: Shyamendr
Stills: Ahyan Ghani & Manu Sharma
Posters: Jugal Mody
Producers: Manu Sikander Dhingra & Sourabh Ratnu for The Hoshruba Repertory
Special thanks to Naghma Abidi, Polly Hazarika, Mukul Kesavan, Hemant Suthar, Darain Shahidi.
Brief profile of cast & crew:
Danish Husain is a Delhi-based poet, actor (Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat, Ankhon Dekhi), theatre director (Krapp’s Last Tape, Chinese Coffee), but is best known for collaborating with Mahmood Farooqui to revive the lost art form of Urdu storytelling, Dastangoi.
Vrajesh Hirjee is a film actor (Such A Long Journey, Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Golmal Series) & a stage actor (All The Best, Chinese Coffee), & a TV presenter and host.
Siddharth Mathawan & Sandra Pfiel are design artists running Studio db in Berlin and have done production design for films like Don 2, & A Midnight’s Children.
Isha Ahluwalia is a costume designer (Dhobi Ghat, 3 Idiots, Ankhon Dekhi) and an independent artist who curates the space 1/29 Studio/Gallerie in Colaba, Mumbai.
Shawn Lewis is a stage and theatre light designer.
Faizullah, Ahyan Ghani, Jugal Mody, & Shyamndr are respected academician, cinematographer, novelist, theatre person respectively who are volunteering for this project purely out of love for theatre and this production in particular.