Harold Pinter’s THE DUMB WAITER Director: Thawai Thiyam


Playwright: Harold Pinter

Director: Thawai Thiyam

Group: Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal

Language: Manipuri

Duration: 1 hr 13 mins

The Play

Two hit-men, Abo and Tomba, are waiting in a basement room for their assignment. As the play begins, Abo, the senior member of the team, is reading a newspaper, and Tomba, the junior member, is tying his shoes. Tomba asks Abo many questions as he gets ready for their job and tries to make tea. They argue over the semantics of “light the kettle” and “put on the kettle”. Abo continues reading his paper for most of the time, occasionally reading excerpts of it to Tomba. Abo gets increasingly animated, and Tomba’s questions become more pointed, at times nearly nonsensical. In the back of the room is a dumbwaiter, who delivers occasional food orders. This is mysterious and both characters seem to be puzzled why these orders keep coming; the basement is clearly not outfitted as a restaurant kitchen. Tomba goes to the bathroom. Abo listens carefully—we gather from his replies that their victim has arrived and is on his way to the room. Abo shouts for Tomba, who is still out of the room. The door, that the target is supposed to enter from, flies open. Abo rounds on it with his gun, and Tomba enters, stripped of his jacket, waistcoat, tie and gun. There is a long silence as the two stare at each other before the curtain comes down.

Director’s Note

The play is an expression of absurdity of life portraying the psychological contrast in human behaviour and analysis of inner truth and freedom.

The Director

Thawai Thiyam was born in Imphal on 15 August 1982. He received training in Dramatics and Performing Arts at the Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal. This included stagecraft, design, martial arts, direction etc. Because of his passion for theatre-arts he joined the prestigious Institute of Calcutta Puppet Theatre, Kolkata to study theatre design, theatre architecture, scenic design, property and mask making, and a section of puppetry and performance under the able guidance of Padmashree Suresh Dutta. He has participated in quite a number of major national and international theatre festival held in India and abroad. Thawai Thiyam has directed many plays in his debut including Bachae, Shaknaidaba Waree, Maharaj Indrajit, Rajya Abhishek, Punaragomon, Andha Yug, and The Dumb Waiter.

The Playwright

Harold Pinter (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others’ works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed and acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others’ works.

The Group

The Chorus Repertory Theatre was established in the valley of Manipur, a small hill state in the easternmost part of India, in April 1976 under the able and dynamic guidance of Ratan Thiyam. Located on the outskirts of Imphal, Manipur’s capital city, Chorus Repertory Theatre’s two acre campus has been slowly built (and six times rebuilt after disastrous monsoons) to accommodate a self-sufficient way of life with housing and working quarters for the company. It is now an important regional and national centre for contemporary theatre.  On its 25th anniversary, the company dedicated its first permanent theatre called ‘The Shrine’, a 200 seat auditorium conceived and designed by Ratan Thiyam with space for set construction and storage.

Cast & Credits

Abo: Ibomcha Sorok / Robindro

Tomba: Somo

Stage Manager: Jilasana Meetei

Set & Props: Tarpon, Lokendra

Costume: Somo, Tarubi

Light: Angoutombi

Music: Tomba, Basanta

Production Manager: Ibomcha Sorok

Administration & Publicity: Dolendro

Back stage: Vijay, Tarpon, Tarubi, Rahul, Ajitkumar

Front of the House: Sandhyarani, Rojita, Russia

Playwright: Harold Pinter

Adaptation in Manipuri: Ratan Thiyam

Design & Direction: Thawai Thiyam

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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