Fame is like that demanding friend, you know the one, they’ll get you up to mischief and let you take the fall when things go sideways. Yet, just like that friend it also has an irresistible appeal. As social media continues to thrive, the lure of fame becomes ever more enticing – and that just means the stakes keep rising.
In the play ‘Creeps’ – written originally in 2002 by German playwright Lutz Hubner – three girls compete for a coveted spot on a reality TV series. As the play progresses, so do their antics to outshine one another. Playwright, theatre veteran and actor Sohaila Kapur localised the play for an Indian audience a few years ago and has tweaked her version for the audience of UAE. Here, she is assisted by co-director Akansha Goenka, winner of Short+Sweet Theatre Festival 2022.
Kapur, who uses this stage to talk about the cultural clash that comes with economic differences, says: “This play is a comedy, but it has a very serious message; it's about how young people crave fame and money these days, and how they can be exploited because of that.”
The ‘Family Man’ alumni adds that the show is extremely relevant at a time when young people yearn for recognition for their own work, in spite of a background in riches. It is not about survival, this want of fame but a deep-seated desire to claim their own space.
As someone who’s a veteran in the entertainment field, Kapur is no stranger to these bright-eyed starlets. Just as she’s no foreigner to fame. She’s worked across mediums; television, movies, theatre; and roles. “I've done television and theatre, and I'm on the OTT platform. Theatre basically grounded me and it gave me my skills as an actor. It also gave me my skills as a director and writer. It's helped me hone my skills, which I have used in the other mediums like television and movies. I am writing now too. For me, it's all one art, writing, directing and acting. And music! I mean, I've broken out as a lyricist for the first time. I wrote four songs for 'Why? The Musical', which opened up the Expo 2020 Dubai, and the music was by [award-winning composer] A R Rahman and the creative director was [Bollywood star] Shekhar Kapoor. They're not so different,” she explains.
Exploration and evolution then are key to her success. In ‘Creeps’, she centres on the differences of thought, action and even speech patterns between a city dweller and a rural citizen. It was, she admits, a bit challenging to coach someone on an accent that they were not comfortable with. “In the beginning, I remember I had one girl who was playing the small town girl, she had problems. She said, ’Why do you want me to have this kind of an accent? Why do you want me to work like that?’ So that was a bit of a challenge, you know, when an actor tells you, she can't do it. But I think I'm able to persuade them, and then they're happy.”
Kapur, who returns post show to a menagerie of projects, is excited for the prospect of sharing her vision with the Dubai audience – and heading home for the variety of acting assignments.
The dance between fame, self-regulation and shadow manipulation is on the cards tonight. “You should come and see it. You will like it,” says Kapur.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to see ‘Creeps’ staged at The Junction, Alserkal Avenue until June 26 at 7.30pm start at Dh80.