“Good Vibes Only” by Quiver Productions—20 and 21 August 2022, at the Alliance Francaise. The play is about a young couple who run a sex toy business. They believe they will liberate their customer’s sex lives. But their relationship runs into rough weather, and then, so does the business. The story centres around how the protagonists navigate these stormy seas.Aug 18, 2022, 13 45 | Updated: Aug 18, 2022, 13 45
Suneel R is an independent filmmaker based out of Bangalore, who works primarily in Kannada Cinema. Even so, he insists acting is his first love while dabbling in stagewriting as well. He lives by the axiom: "There are no small roles, only short actors."
I remember my Dramaturgy professor saying that the start and end points of creating a story, any story—for stage, for screen, for a book—comes down to two principal questions that we ask ourselves.
What is one trying to say?
Why should the audience/reader/viewer care?
It is a reliable heuristic to apply in the process of writing.
I cannot go deep into the first question without revealing all of the play and its plot. (My co-writer Sweta Daga and I took a while to put it together…so no spoilers.)
So I will address the second question.
But first, some information about “Good Vibes Only”
A young couple runs a sex toy business. They believe they will liberate their customer’s sex lives. But their relationship runs into rough weather, and then, so does the business. The story centres around how the protagonists navigate these stormy seas.
Sweta and I were in touch with Quiver Productions through the course of writing this play. Quiver was reputed to bring energy—a special something—to the scripts they productionize. And we did get interesting feedback from the producers on how the play could take the stage.
As we got down to it, timelines got stretched, the pandemic and lockdowns got in the way. Still, it was an exciting collaboration. A round of auditions later (and vaccinations, of course), we started rehearsals for the play. I was going to be directing the play.
Braving the logistics and jugglery of about 15 people and their availability at one time in one place, we did several weeks of this. And for this play, Good Vibes, did this over five months.
But this was a committed team of actors and crew. And there’s something special about the way theatre people press pause on their social lives so they can bring plays to the stage.
What a ride.
First, plans changed. We planned shows in June. The team said no, they weren’t performance-ready. Definitely not after taking money from audiences to watch us. So, we pushed the opening dates to July.
And when we were set, Covid hit the cast and crew—five of them, anyway. So, we pushed the dates yet again. And we returned to more rehearsals.
Yet, after all this, we are more battle ready than we are battle-worn. Grim flashbacks are behind us.
We worked extensively with the actors on scenes that portrayed physical intimacy. This included discussing the choreography, the narration and iteratively improvising the scene. The objective was to find both, what would make the actors comfortable and move the narrative forward. Employing traditional acting methods—and some contemporary processes of coordinating intimacy—we established the truth of the characters. We weren’t, of course, going to show love scenes as two flowers smushed in passion—as they did in the movies.
By artful choreography—and by the slow cooking of theatre techniques to navigate the comfort centres of the actors—we figured it out.
The result? Well, cast and crew join me in asking you to come and judge for yourself. We simply can’t wait.
“Good Vibes Only” is directed by Suneel Raghavendra, written by Sweta Daga and Suneel Raghavendra and produced by Quiver Productions. Opens on the weekend of 20th and 21st August 2022, at the Alliance Francaise, with shows at 3:30 and 7pm on both days.