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How to Choose a Good Play?


If cinema is factory-made bread that is food for the soul, theater is bread that is fresh out of an oven in a bakery. The actors are right there in front of you in person, and even the music and sound effects are sometimes performed live. While I love watching movies, I never miss an opportunity to catch a good play whenever I can.


For the uninitiated, a play is where actors perform a script live and is divided into acts and scenes. Unlike movies, it is hard to judge if a play will be worth watching, so we'll go through how to select a good play to watch.

Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother Play


1. Try to avoid experimental theater


One of the things I learned the hard way about choosing a play was never to go in for a play that is termed "experimental." This will usually translate into something weird which will not amount to an enjoyable performance. There are well-known theater troupes that dabble in this sort of thing and it is better to skip them.



2. International theater festivals are always a good bet


More often than not if plays are good enough to cross continental borders, they are bound to be good. One such great event was the Short and Sweet Theater Festival held in Bangalore a few years ago. It had a great selection of plays, each around 20 minutes, with each one more entertaining than the next. There will probably be similar events held in your city from time to time. I got to watch several great plays at a stretch and had a great time.

Anton Chekov play tickets

Another way to choose good plays is to choose the ones at international cultural centers such as the Alliance Francaise in Bangalore.



3. Keep an eye out for cultural fests to choose a good play


Bengaluru Habba Cultural Festival Pass

There used to be an annual arts and culture festival called Bengaluru Habba which I haven't heard of this past year. Nevertheless, art and culture gatherings will definitely have great plays for audiences to enjoy and celebrate.


4. Opt for reasonably priced plays


Never select a play whose ticket price is higher than the cost of a blockbuster 3D movie in a multiplex. Unless the play is a critically acclaimed production, a play that costs way more than an expensive movie ticket isn't worth it. I myself have been to a few plays where the tickets were pricey and the play was either boring or really bad.


5. Choose plays in your regional language when you can.


Rangayana theater play tickets

Regional theater is almost always bound to be good and priced reasonably as well. The plays I watched at H N Kalakshetra, Malleshwaram Seva Sadan in Bangalore, and Rangayana in Mysore were really good. Non-regional plays are most times priced higher and the chances of going to a bad one are higher as well.



6. Choose good productions and directors


Nagamandala Play tickets

One way to tell if a play is good is if it people behind it come from renowned theater backgrounds. For example in India, the National School of Drama is well known for its famous alumni from Anupam Kher to Neena Gupta. Rangayana in Mysore founded by acclaimed playwright B V Karanth has produced exceptional talent since its inception.


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