Bollywood fans worldwide will get a real treat this coming spring with a traveling production of The Blue Mug, a new play directed by Atul Kumar that stars Ranvir Shorey, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Sheeba Chaddha, and Munish Bhardwaj. The Blue Mug is based in part on The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, the classic book of essays by neurologist Oliver Sacks. Sacks took his experiences with patients who, for varying reasons from brain tumors to dementia to autism, experience the world differently from neurotypical individuals and used them to explore our own shared conception of memory and existence. The Blue Mug follows in his footsteps, taking mental illness out of the realm of the clinical and into the philosophical.
The Blue Mug, which uses both Hindi and English, doesn’t have a traditional narrative. There is a segment with a 40-year old patient who cannot remember anything past his 20th birthday and another partially improvised section where the actors tell stories from their own pasts, which eventually come together to explore the larger shared Indian experience. While actors in The Blue Mug may be well-known Bollywood personalities, director Atul Kumar would prefer that audiences focus on their talent and not their celebrity, telling The Economic Times that, “I realize that I am working on this piece with actors who are also now household faces from cinema, but… people need to see them as actors on stage, as performers first and then comment or ask questions since that is what the essential is in this case in point. We are doing a piece of theatre and people seem to be focusing on all other things but that.”
The tour will be seen not only in 12 cities in the US but also Dubai, Muscat, Oman and San Paulo Brazil and runs from April 16th to May 16th and tickets are available on the official The Blue Mug website.