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Press Release
The Blue Mug
April 25th, 2010 by Ruchit Desai

New York, NY – “That was then, this is now,” actress Sheeba Chadha stated as a prelude to The Blue Mug, which after not being performed for several years, had its New York premiere at the Gerald Lynch Theater, last night.

Chadha is one of the ensemble cast of actors in the play who struggle to shape themselves on the basis of what they remember; reflecting in a theatrical manner the image of India, its history, its people and its joys and turmoil as seen through the memories and confabulations of these artists.

Ostensibly characterized as a comedy play, this Atul Kumar production explores the nature of memories with characters constructing their personal, social, and cultural histories with respect to coming of age in India.

When asked about where the idea for such a play originated, Kumar cited Oliver Sack’s The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, a book describing the neurological case histories of some of his patients. He became fascinated with the idea of memories and created an adaptation into an Indian backdrop, implementing new scenarios and twists on the phenomenon of the ability to recall and what it actually means to remember. 

What is very unique to this particular production is that it has delved deep into the minds of the actors to use their actual past and memories. Kumar describes the piece as a very personal journey as there is no real written script. It is a compendium of the actors’ experiences in childhood and beyond – everything from first loves to dealing with death. This improvisational method invariably makes for a unique performance each and every time it is enacted. 

Perhaps the audience’s most adored character, Juginder, a psychiatric patient suffering from anterograde amnesia, was one of the most memorable highlights of the night. With his boyish charm and overall gawkiness, Ranvir Shorey’s depiction of the forty year old thinking he is still twenty something brought the house to countless moments of roaring laughter while still dealing with quite a tragic situation.  

Konkona Sen Sharma gives a calm, cool, and collected performance as the patient’s doctor who grapples with the meaning of a life without memories. Munish Bhardwaj, Rajat Kapoor, and Vinay Pathak add to this versatile ensemble with their simplistically insightful yet totally hilarious vignettes of boarding school, ailing parents, and transitions to college.  

While the play is predominately about memories in India, it is bringing this experience across continents to audiences everywhere from the U.S. to South America. The New York run of the play was presented by Bharat Jotwani of Poojanka Entertainment. The play will be traveling across the US through May 16 with one performance in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on May 5.

Visit for tickets and upcoming schedule.


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