A TETE-A-TETE WITH NADIR KHAN
17th August 2019
Enhancing The Narrative & Recreating An Authentic World – A tete-a-tete with Nadir Khan
Note: We had an insightful conversation with the amazing Nadir Khan, director of ‘A Few Good Men.’ He sheds light upon the relatable themes & why design & attention to detail are vital in establishing context and providing authenticity to this incredible story. Excerpts:
Interviewer: The play is set in a world removed from ours. How do you prep & find the truth despite the dissonance?
Nadir Khan: …This is an iconic script. It’s set in America, but different audiences can identify with the story. The story isn’t set in India but we’re an Indian team with Indian actors – research becomes crucial when it comes to the elements (embellishments to costumes) in the story that we want to be truthful about. They must be accurate as they add to the authenticity. We also had to figure out the rules around the etiquette of saluting. Even elements like haircuts are crucial as we’re creating a world set in a unique system. We need to be true to that world. Research is key to that avail. With respect to finding truth: if the actors speak their lines with meaning/ intent while encapsulating the essence of the line(s), it’s easier to find truth. Active intent tends to lead to the truth of the character.
Interviewer: What’re the challenges of staging a play that entails a plethora of different locations, like - cinema, yet so text-driven like - theatre?
NK: Changing locations are harder to portray on stage. They’re definite locations in a script rooted in realism. We needed to construct a world that entailed believable court rooms/ Cuban settings. It’s a juggling act in terms of the design. Despite the size of the stage, you’re stuck with one space… with the infrastructure available in our country, we aren’t prepped to take on complex transitions that employ the use of motorized walkways/ hydraulics. We must get creative to ensure seamless transitions, which are a focus point with this play - to ensure that the narrative doesn’t keep breaking. Design wise, we’ve gone slightly abstract. We have elements that depict the locations. We use the same areas on stage for multiple locations while transforming each area.