Culture

Kalki Koechlin directs her first play

...and it's the outcome of a deathly obsession

Her preferred genre is a little morbid:
“Why am I obsessed with death? I don’t know,” says Kalki Koechlin. The Living Room, her first outing as theatre director, is a tragicomedy led by Neil Bhoopalam. It shares the grim theme of the The Skeleton Woman, the first play she ever wrote. “One day, I wrote a conversation between an old woman and Death. Many months later, I found it lying around and developed it into a story.”

Being a triple threat isn’t easy: 
To write and direct a play, while keeping her day job as a movie star, she says, helps her get better at all roles simultaneously — but it also “requires a lot of multi-tasking.” She keeps her phone off while working, and then scrambles to return messages when it’s time to get back on the grid. “Compartmentalising is important.”

She’s got famous company:
No one does black comedy like Woody Allen, who once wrote, “The most beautiful words in the English language aren’t ‘I love you,’ but ‘It’s benign’”. “Woody Allen is definitely an influence,” admits Koechlin, who, like him, finds humour in “the deep instinctive need we all have to hang on to mortality.”

The Living Room is on from July 24-26 at Ranga Shankara, Bengaluru. Rangashankara.org

Photograph: Abhay Singh

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