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Posted at: Jul 25, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: Jul 25, 2018, 1:22 AM (IST)

Drama, day & night

Six days, six nights, a non-stop act; theatreperson Chakresh Kumar has the audience mesmerised with a never-seen-before performance at the Tagore Theatre

Mona

Such intensity...144 hours...dude, I am a fan of this actor...is what we hear Suraj exclaim, as he exits the glasshouse at the Tagore Theatre. Suraj is part of Chandigarh Art Theatre. He had seen Chakresh Kumar in his act on Day 1 of Abhinaya Darpan, playing an actor-director. Suraj returns to check on day three if Chakresh can pull off the six-day duration. And, indeed he does!

A known name in theatre circles, Chakresh is out to do something not heard in the city before — six days and six nights of a single act! Each day is a new role, every three hours the situation changes, and whatever he does is in accordance with the character he is playing.

Playing a prisoner

We catch him playing a prisoner, Munna, who was working as an electrician but was found at the crime scene and is due to be hanged the morning next. At three in the noon, we find him packing chanas in packets, sealing each carefully weighed packet over a candle! Intently at job, burning himself over the flames, wrought with emotions. 

“All I feel is pity for him,” shares Mohit, class 10 student who has accompanied his dad, a theatre teacher in Sonepat, to witness this never-seen-before act. “That’s where it is a victory for the actor — to be able to pull the audience into his misery,” says Ajay K Sharma, a department of Indian Theatre, PU, passout. He got to know about this ambitious act through Facebook. He wishes he can observe the actor day and night!

Tough act

Chakresh performs from 10 in the morning to 10 at night at the Glass House, Tagore Theatre, and the entite night at a location in New Chandigarh. While journeying from studio to theatre and vice-versa, he stays in the character. Says Shashwat, who is pursuing filmmaking, “It is such an intense act, but don’t you think it’s being wasted as there are barely any viewers to enjoy such a spectacle.” 

However, in the evenings more viewers come over as Bharat Muni Natya Festival fetches them; the act is a part of this festival as well. There is a team of 16 persons from Alankar Theatre who are on the job. “There aren’t many takers for the night performance at Khuda Lahora, New Chandigarh,” they echo.  “Chandigarh is still playing the shows from the 70s. Chakresh has to his credit many successful shows. But this is a stellar act, if only the city was more appreciative,” says another theatre-goer.

Up next

Having already played an actor-director, ticket-seller and prisoner, for the remaining days Chakresh is going to play a musician, Jahangir, sweeper, Kendra Para Upadhyaya, and lastly, a suprise act called The Environmental.

This feat has baffled Theatre supervisor Ranjit Singh, “He speaks to us, but only in his character. I have not come across such a performance ever in my 37 years of service here.” Such commitment and dedication, Chakresh spoke to us his reasons a night before the performance, “I want to revive the actor in me that has side-stepped into the director’s act. Thorough this attempt I want to tap human emotions caught in the remote areas of the mind that are not accessed often.”

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