Every three years, over the last decade, the Mumbai-based theatre group RAGE - in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre in London - organizes the Writers' Bloc Workshop. Offering a much-needed artistic retreat to playwrights, this workshop allows aspiring and professional playwrights a chance to perfect their scripts with established actors and professionals from within the industry. Apart from encouraging them to break free from the rigid boundaries of English theatre in India to fashion their own idiom, the workshop also ensures its playwrights access to the final pilgrimage of any script - the stage. As it stands today, the infamous debate on whether an Indian play written in English mirrors a bona fide Indian reality is no longer relevant. Using a vocabulary that is entirely their own - 'unaffected, homegrown and lyrical' - the three plays in this collection convincingly capture the peculiar accents and the particular chaos of our times. Rahul Da Cunha's 'Pune Highway' is set in a seedy hotel room where three friends, having just witnessed the gruesome murder of a fourth, are holed up, desperate to escape its consequences; Ram Ganesh Kamatham's 'Crab' takes a hard-talking look at the existential angst of a new generation, looking at once for purpose and an emotional safe place from an increasingly concrete world; Farhad Sorabjee's 'Hard Places' explores the unspoken borders that divide us from our loved ones and the violently disputed borders between countries. Bridging the invisible lines between the personal and the political and taking us to places and situations a little less familiar and safer than our own, these brilliantly written plays can be performed, and empathized with, across territories.
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