What happens when a writer is unable to write? Writer’s block can be creativity-killer. And what if the characters he has thought up are annoyed to be left in limbo?
Joy Fernandes directs and acts in Phulmani Varma’s Anything’s Possible about four lost characters who set out to help their author.
The writer (Navneet Ranga) has a pile of crumpled paper at his feet (though how many use typewriters these days?) and growing lethargy that leaves him unable to finish his book. A prince (Kabbir Deshmukh), a very disgruntled singer with a guitar (Jonina Fernandes) and two adorable little fairies (Aahana Chheda, Mohona Srivastava) arrive at his untidy home, and wonder what it to be done; if they are to come into the world, the writer has to get to work.
So they decide to go into the magic forest to look for Inspiration. They battle monsters, meet invisible friends and finally find Inspiration (Joy Fernandes) and his candy-carrying companion Creativity (Himanshu Kapil). Fernandes plays Inspiration with weary, put-upon air—obviously everyone seeks him and he can’t be everywhere.
It’s the idea that works, and the interactions between the fictional characters are funny, so kids in the audience don’t seem to mind that the production has a slapdash look, all it needs to create a magic forest it to light up a tree (that looks like a kid’s drawing of a tree) with fairy lights. A cat throwing tantrums off stage is still amusing. The two little fairies do a dance with the imaginary friend, that is cute. Which is how theatre (and books) fire up a child’s imagination, and that cannot match all the digital wizardry on screen. After the pandemic slump, theatre companies are working with tiny budgets, and it is admirable that they still fill up the slate for children’s plays that are now a mandatory part of summer vacations
Joy Fernandes, of course, walks away with the play, with Inspiration coming to sort the lazy writer out like an angry uncle. What boggles the mind, however, is what kind of story a writer would come up with, that has a prince, a singer and fairies—that would require a lot of imagination and creativity.
(This piece first appeared in mumbaitheatreguide.com)