WHY TANIKA GUPTA IS PLEASED ABOUT HER PLAY’S RETURN
TALENTED writer Tanika Gupta has lit up the theatre world with interesting plays that have tackled different subjects and represented various genres.
While she has excelled at bigger productions, one of my favourite plays she has written is Love N Stuff, which is about an older Indian married couple who come to a crossroads in their relationship. The hilarious comedy features two ac- tors taking on over 20 characters and returns for another run at Stratford East in London this week. I caught up with Tanika to find out more.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in creating this piece?
I think the biggest challenge was not to laugh too much during the process of devising and writing. Mansoor and Bindi are a warm and funny couple, with such a natural comedy chemistry between them, that I had to stop myself from laughing too much during rehearsals.
You must be glad that the play is returning for another run?
Yes, very pleased. It’s great to see two such versa- tile Asian actors displaying their acting talents. They play a variety of races, genders and accents with huge skill and humour. They even play a couple of cats.
Tell us a little more about the story for those who didn’t catch it first time around?
Bindi and Mansoor might just be the most popular couple on their street, but after 33 years of a loving marriage, Mansoor has vowed to swap the cold streets of Stratford for a sun-soaked Delhi. The problem? Bindi’s not convinced and has concocted a last-minute plan to lure him back. She calls on neighbours and friends to come to the Heathrow airport departure lounge to dissuade Mansoor and chaos ensues.
What is your favourite moment in the play?
My favourite moment is when Bindi and Mansoor’s teenage neighbour Baggy shows up speaking his street talk, ‘Bundat’ and ‘Oh my diggidy, that girl is stacking heat’. It’s a great comedy moment as Mansoor struggles to understand him.
How important is it to have great actors cast in the play?
There is no point writing a great play if you can’t get the actors to breathe life into it and as writers, we absolutely depend on actors to bring the words on the page onto the stage to entertain a live audience. Rina Fatania and Nick Khan are fantastic actors who are full of energy, stagecraft and a good sense of fun. By the end of the play, you feel like you’ve been watching 20 actors on stage, not just two.
What can we expect next from you?
At the moment, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is on at the Globe Theatre and I have worked as the dramaturg and lyricist on it. It’s a big diverse cast, with music, songs and dances and it’s very anarchic. It is doing very well, has had great notices and an ecstatic response from the audiences.
What inspires you today?
Articles and books I read, stories I hear, strange characters I meet, people I listen to at the bus stop, photographs, pictures and art basically the world around me.
Finally, why should we all watch Love N Stuff?
It’s a great night out, either as a couple, with friends or with family. It’s a warm and affectionate look at an old love between husband and wife. The play and performances are laugh-out-loud funny and you’ll leave the theatre feeling happy.
Love N Stuff is being staged at Stratford East Theatre from Friday (3) until June 25. Log onto www. stratfordeast.com to find out more