As the play An Inspector Calls opens, everyone at a party at the Malla family’s house is smartly dressed. Men are in suits and women in saris and dresses. They look jolly and the ongoing conversation shows that the host members are excited about something. But, with the entrance of an inspector, the mood changes.
Being staged at Purano Ghar in Sinamangal, the play written by JB Priestley in 1945 has been adapted into Nepali and is directed by Rajkamal Fakir. As you go watch the play, you can sense this is a different drama from what you have been watching and expecting in Nepal.
Here we explain why.
In the drama, the celebration is about the announcement of the engagement between Sheila Malla (Sarada Adhikari) and Shishir Bikram Rana (Shishir Shiwakoti).
At the party, the head of the family, Saurya Malla (Bijay Tamrakar)’s loud personality is seen dominating the conversation. He gives his insight on topics in the conversations like politics, business, Covid and others. Sheila is bored listening to him while his future son-in-law finds the conversation interesting.
Suddenly, a doorbell rings and there is Inspector Ateez (Avash Adhikari) behind the door. Inspector Ateez donning a black long coat, sweater and hat enters the room and immediately puts his concern about a case he has been investigating about.
An Inspector Calls revolves around the story of a young girl, who died of suicide and the Malla family has some sort of connection with her. Watch the play to know what happens next.
Fresh intake that sets it apart
There are different aspects of An Inspector Calls that set it apart from other contemporary dramas being staged.
Firstly, the play follows the detective genre, which is one of the rare genres explored in Nepali theatre. Secondly, the play involves a lavish setup decored with full fledge furniture, branded alcohol and decent wallpapers, enhancing the experience of the audience. Similarly, there are also several other things that make the play stand out from other plays.
Let’s not spoil all of them here.
The strength of An Inspector Calls rests in its script and direction. The debutant director Fakir has done a marvellous job of making the play thrilling and full of suspense. Similarly, the acting skills of Inspector Ateez also make the audience more curious about the next scene of the play. One after another, the play unfolds the secrets of the family members. The way how those secrets are unveiled by the inspector is another interesting part of the play. In fact, this play can be a perfect show for those who love crime thriller scripts.
In addition, this crime thriller drama also depicts how capitalists exploit the working class in society. It shows how they become insensitive to someone battling for their rights.
Characters, settings and more
An Inspector Calls features the same setting and the lights also remain consistent, except in a few scenes for some seconds. The makers have not put much effort into changing the setting and lighting. However, that does not lose the charm of the drama; it is not at all boring or monotonous.
All the actors in the play have done a commendable job to justify the script. However, Sadin Luitel, who acts as Sadin Malla, steals the show. His expression, body movement and dialogue delivery are natural. In one scene, Luitle’s skin colour changes from fair to red while exhibiting anger and frustration on the stage, which is commendable.
The music of the play by Ashu KC features various instrumental numbers as there is a change in scenes. In the beginning, while the family members are making conversation, there is soft music from the piano in the background. As the mood changes, so do the music. In intense scenes, the piano gets louder, creating thrilling vibes. Then, it also features melancholic and romantic music in the background apt for the mood.
The play ends on a serious and realistic note. It shows how people easily forget their crime when they feel secure and superior. Hence, according to the makers, this play can also be defined as a morality play.
An Inspector Calls will run through November 28 at 5:30 pm every day except Tuesdays at Purano Ghar, Sinamangal. There will be an additional show on Saturdays at 1:30 pm.