“yehi hai humara durga puja…or yehi hai inka nanga nach“, said Raju and the audience burst into applause. Stage Struck’s third production, “Stuck in the Lobby” written by Anubhav Chakraborty and co-directed by Anubhav Chakraborty and Sourav Amin Dey, was staged at Gyan Manch on the 7th of February. The curtains rose to an enthusiastic audience and an even more excited cast.
The plot revolves around six people who were stuck in a hotel lobby for three days in the hilly area due to bad weather conditions. The unavailability of Wi-Fi and the games room had been announced early in the play. In the absence of any kind of digital media, we become frustrated. Every character is shown reaching their breaking point and every character bursts out in some way or other. The story which began as a slapstick humor, soon transformed into a dark comedy. The script writer has carefully brought up political issues out in the open and advocated the competition between the two parties of West Bengal. The underlying hypocrisy of a society which feigns sophistication under the garb of civility was showcased on stage.
The play also focused on the dependency of humans, on digital media and has further advocated Mac Iver’s concept of, “man is a social animal”. Anubhav Chakraborty has done a praiseworthy job of bringing a bunch of talented debutants on stage. From Megha Murty’s social analyst, Madhumita to Sourish Bhattacharya’s engineer turned writer, Monoj Mittir, Anubhav Chakraborty had brought life into the characters. Sailesh Goenka’s retired army officer, Mr.singh and Kritartha Pandey’s hotel help, Raju has been greatly praised by the audience but the one who stood out was the co-director of the play, Sourav Amin Dey who played the part of marketing analyst, Kailash. The frustration on being stuck in a lobby without cigarettes for three days was perfectly brought out by Sourav Amin Dey.
“It was an honest attempt, but more cohesiveness among the performers was needed”, said Somenath Bhattacharya, soon after coming out of the theatre. Yes, cohesiveness was lacking and the backstage team could have been better. However, the play must be praised for its comic timing enhanced by Debrup Bandyopadhyay’s hotel manager, Mr. Hati and the other hotel help, Thapa played by Rohan Paul. Souvik Chatterjee’s music was much liked by the audience and the director could have used him more and not merely as a background artist. ‘I want to break free’ remains one of the wow moments from the musical point of view. One of the main flaws is related to the technical faults of the lighting department. There was no cooperation between the lighting department and the movement of the actors in few scenes. A student of mechanical engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology said, “I appreciate the way the students came up with a relatable play. It was a nice attempt and I am looking forward to the next production.”
Anushua Banerjee’s event manager, Swarnali totally did justice to the character of a suspecting wife while her husband on stage, engineer Rohit, played by Abhi Bhowmik, made the audience laugh with his crazy antics and dependency on social media. The scene transition could have been a bit shorter and the attempt to make people laugh at the beginning was very weak. The soliloquy given to Monoj in the end seemed redundant and could not do justice to the context of the play. It could have been avoided. Also, since most of the play was in English, it would have been better
Keeping aside the few flaws, the play was a good attempt on the part of Stage Struck and the audience left the hall more or less satisfied. There was certainly a lot of applause from the audience and in the end it was pronounced to be a hit. “Stuck in the lobby” will return one day and without the flaws.