A new star in English theatre is born

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  • Published 2.03.07

The musical comedy Where is the star? was staged recently at the ITA cultural Centre under the banner of Stage Fusion. It exemplified that staging a successful comedy is, indeed, a serious business.

An adaptation of Ken Ludwig’s play Lend me a Tenor, the quirky extravaganza Where is the star? is the first directorial venture of Rupa Hazarika Som, cast in the role of Maggi.

The play revolves around the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, where world famous singer and the “star” Tito Merelli (Bijoy Choudhury) is to perform in Othello at the gala season opener.

It is supposed to be the biggest night in the history of the opera company.

All tickets have been sold out and the theatre is expected to be chock-a-bloc with spectators.

But disaster strikes on the day of the show. Tito falls asleep because of an overdose of tranquillisers in his booze.

The general manager of the company, Saunders (Deba Choudhury), feels Tito’s pulse and thinks he is dead.

Nothing worries Saunders more than the treatment he must face at the hands of the huge crowd which has spent $250 each to buy tickets for the show. But his resourcefulness comes to Saunders’s rescue. He weaves a witty plan to avert the disaster.

He remembers that his assistant Max (Utpal Bhattacharjee) is an aspiring singer and knows a number of Tito’s songs by heart. Having found a good substitute for Tito, the manager now only has to coax him to assume the role.

After a great deal of pestering, Max is finally persuaded to appear on stage in a costume similar to Tito’s, with his face painted black. He tries to fool the audience into thinking that he is the star. He succeeds admirably.

But luck decides to intervene.

Tito recovers from the tranquillisers’ effect, dons his costume and appears on stage.

The rest is anybody’s guess.

Despite this being her directorial debut, Rupa Hazarika Som has displayed great maturity in characterisation, which, of course, was complemented by the talented cast.

The play could not have been so interesting without the contribution of minor characters like Maria (KulKul Rahman), Julia (Upasha Baruah Phukan), Diana (Sonia Nangia Choudhuri) and Bellhop (Jaideep Choudhuri). With a mix of great diction and expression, the crew of Where is the star? has shown who the new stars of English theatre are.