Director Arvind Sivakumaran makes his debut as a writer with the much-acclaimed play, "My Funny Valentine". The play is performed as part of Thespo 2000 and stars Yuki Ellias, Kunal Roy Kapur and Adrian Terron. The stage is set in urban America during the nineteen forties and is an attempt to showcase the popular genre of film noir.
Charley Brackett (Kunal Roy Kapur) is a financially downtrodden car salesman from the city, whose skepticism about life is only surpassed by his inferior taste in the opposite sex. He lives in a small apartment with his friend Mike, a local law enforcement officer of (not surprisingly) unshakeable character. After a brief fling with a rich "client" named Madeline Kitridge (Yuki Ellias), Charlie begins to develop strong feelings for the latter and falls hopelessly into a web of murder, deceit and seduction. The situation is inevitably complicated by the involvement of Madeline's husband, Geoffrey, and events finally take a turn for the worse.
Although the plot is closely entwined in cliches that characterize the genre of film noir, the director's interpretation is still a unique and entertaining package for modern theatre. The dialogue is swift and the intensity on stage is a testimony to the versatility and talent of the cast.
Yuki Ellias' characterization of the sensuous Madeline Kitridge is fresh and evocative, while Kunal Roy Kapur and Adrian Terron adequately combine elements of wit and intelligence to deliver an unforgettable performance. The play is smooth and the efficient execution of the production in its final moments is a tribute to the director's sense of theatrical dimension.This article was first published on 29 Dec 2000.