"The Typists" is a 45-minute verbal marathon, whose extensive content well exceeds the audience's ability to consume it whole. The play is, however, a brilliant adaptation of absurd drama, written for a mature audience and set in the early 1920s. The plot (like most absurd dramas) is inconsequential as compared to the point being driven forth through every second of the act. Paul (Karachiwala) and Aileen (Yuki Ellias) are the typists of the title, whose roles brutally resemble the unchanging circumstances of a modern existence. The characters are a cliched mockery of modern urban profiles and are represented in true absurdist format.
As the play moves forward, it becomes painfully clear that there is a strategic and defined plan to the mayhem on stage. Paul and Aileen grow old together in the same office and finally realize that they've not been living their lives to anyone's liking. Rather, they've been part of a sick charade in the modern bureaucratic machinery. In a fit of helplessness, they plot and conspire against the upper ranks, while trying to fight off their insatiable desire to be their own masters. Finally, their slow transformation to old age is riddled with the hackneyed pathos that characterizes their relentless descent.
The play is plainly (though not intentionally) amusing and thought-provoking as the actors capture the true essence of the plot. The dilemma posed to Aileen and Paul is brought out exquisitely as the two veteran actors hurl their artistic temperaments across the room. The stage redefines itself and is given dimension by the director, who has worked tirelessly to achieve unequivocal success.This article was first published on 29 Mar 2001.