I went to the Music Academy today, at 7.15 in the evening, expecting to see just another play. Some of those that have been part of the The Hindu Theatre Festival have been good, some not so good. This one was excellent. I’ve seen quite a few of the plays shown here and this one is possibly the most immersive one I’ve seen.
The Ristorante Immortale is possibly in the middle of nowhere (it certainly has no customers), but has five characters, each with their own idiosyncrasies; the boss who seems to show unwavering faith in the potential for his restaurant to succeed, the cook who seems perpetually grumpy, and three waiters, an old one who’s always trying to keep up, a vain young fellow who’s always examining his own reflection in cutlery, and the new guy, eagerly trying to stamp his place. The best part is how well the actors show emotion, remarkable because they speak no words and have oversized masks for heads. Slumped shoulders, shuffling feet or a bright, brisk walk make you almost picture the mask speaking. How could something be so sad and so funny?
The five seem to live their little lives wanting to believe that there is a purpose. Each day they prepare the restaurant for patrons and at night, they each immerse themselves in their dreams, something that is almost tragic considering the circumstances they’re in. There’s bullying, there’s hilarious cartoon chases, and some very nice accordion music but the comedy is interspersed with moments of complete melancholy. Frankly, this is the best show I’ve seen as part of this Theatre Festival, and considering the near complete standing ovation the players were given, I’d say most shared my belief.