I DON’T LIKE IT AS YOU LIKE is a delightful take on Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT. Rajat Kapoor has his own way of telling stories, which is again visible through his non-conventional execution of this play as well. It revolves around a group of clowns attempting to stage their play along with their director who is neither satisfied with the theme of the play nor with his actors. Jealousy and tension between the clowns emerge as they struggle to grab the main roles which lead to a comedy of errors. The trouble increases when they lose their rehearsal hall which is now being sold off and a mall will be constructed in its place.
The first act introduces us to the group of clowns rehearsing for their play, each character with its own set of problems and doubts. The play catches pace in the second half with a quick turn of events. The director(Popo played by Joy Fernandes) decides to reverse the roles in a way that all men will play female characters and women will play male characters. It is then, the casual dialogues turn into thought-provoking conversations about gender roles and stereotypes. “I can’t play a man because I am too sensitive” as one of the characters mentions, is an example of how all the messages in the play are not conveyed directly in a preachy manner but it comes out through the witty dialogues and behavior of the characters.
Apart from it, the play also talks about the life of the theatre artistes, who thrive to become the best version of themselves and don’t have the same resources and privileges as that of a movie star. There are several other layered messages conveyed throughout the show, but overall the tone is kept comic and light-hearted.
The music sequences in the play, are all very enjoyable and well-performed by the actors. The play ends with monologues and stimulating conversations between the characters. As an audience, it does make you feel apart of those conversations.
The play has a star cast and each actor has something unique to offer. The chemistry between the actors rarely misses a beat. Faezeh Jalali as Mimi and Aadar Malik as Coco have great chemistry and they keep you hooked throughout, with their performance and perfect comic timings. Rytasha Rathore convincingly plays Gigi, a French clown. Cyrus Sahukar plays Soso and his sock puppet Toto with great brilliance. Vinay Pathak as Fido, Joy Fernandes as Popo, and Shruti Vyas as Fifi have added their own flavor and spontaneity to their respective characters.
The lighting is kept minimal and standard, setting the right mood on stage. Muted pastel colors have been used for the costumes and sets, making it look very French and vintage. Overall the act makes sure that your eyes stay glued to the stage but there are times when the narrative dips. The play sometimes feels a bit chaotic and confused, which might make you lose interest but the humor and light-hearted tone of the play cover up for this.
This play was watched online, uploaded as a prerecorded show of 90 minutes with no intervals. It was shot and recorded live in an empty auditorium. It offers a new experience and perspective of watching a recorded play. It is a great initiative and a way to keep moving forward with theatre amidst the pandemic. You can watch it to experience a light-hearted comedy with a witty touch, from a comfortable corner of your house.
The play streams on December 12th and 13th, 7:00 pm.