Catch A Behanding in Spokane in Dubai from Thursday


Catch A Behanding in Spokane in Dubai from Thursday
The cast: Arjun Burman, Justin Cipriano, Khalid Bilal and Carine Bouery

Published: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 5:41 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Jun 2019, 9:42 AM

IT'S OSCAR-WINNING filmmaker, Martin McDonagh's Tony nominated dark comedy and Dubai's H72 Productions theatre company is bringing it to you this weekend. A Behanding in Spokane opens at The Junction in Alserkal Avenue tonight with Gautam Goenka at the helm.
The play focuses on a day in the life of Carmichael (Justin Cipriano), an aging man engaged in an obsessive search for his missing hand. When two squalid lovebirds (Khalid Bilal & Carine Bouery) decide to play con-artists and claim to be in possession of the appendage Mr. Carmichael so desperately desires to regain, dark comedy ensues. Carmichael agrees to meet them in a dingy hotel run by an overly curious, exceedingly odd receptionist, Mervyn (Arjun Burman).
We caught up with the director Goenka and actor, Bilal, to find out more.
In your own words, what is A Behanding...about and what is the message of the piece for you?
Khalid Bilal: At face value, Behanding is about a man trying to find his hand. In a deeper sense, it speaks to human desire. We want what we want, regardless of how much sense it makes. And that shapes who we are. Each of the characters in the show are indicative of this concept in their own unique ways, whether they are aware of those desires or not.
What made you decide to put on a run of this play in particular? Have you changed anything from the original? Why in your opinion should people come see it?
Gautam Goenka: I think it was a story that had to be told. When I first read it I found myself laughing out loud. It is one of the funniest pieces I have read in a while. As a director, I haven't changed the script at all. I think people should watch it because it is humorously inappropriate and will make you laugh out loud at the absurdity of what goes on the stage.
Khalid Bilal: I take a Samuel L. Jackson approach toward acting, and rarely turn roles down. It would have to be pretty bad for me not to be a part of a production once chosen for it. So when Gautam asked me to be a part, it didn't take much convincing. As for the original, I've tried to stay away from it, for the most part; I want to have my own, unadulterated take on the character and the show. The show's weird, but in an exciting and engaging way. It'll keep the audience off balance, but it's definitely a fun time.
What has been your favourite memory from rehearsals? What do you hope the audiences' reactions will be? Are you nervous at all and how do you overcome this?
Khalid Bilal: The best part of working on this production has been peeling off the restrictions of our characters. The more we work together, the more it works and the more we can do with it. The audience is going to have lots of fun getting to know the characters as the play develops. It's a classic play in that sense - put some very different people in a situation together and watch the magic happen. As for nerves, I'll be fine. I love acting! I'm just ready to put on a great show.
Gautam Goenka: My best memories of rehearsals are the ones where we were laughing so much that it was hard to keep a straight face. I think the audiences will see that too. Given the amazing cast and crew we have, I am not nervous at all. The usual show night jitterbugs aside, I'm looking forward to a fun evening of theatre.
What is the biggest challenge in putting on this production and plays in general in the UAE and how do you overcome this?
Gautam Goenka: I think the biggest challenge is funding community productions here. The talent and intent are there but most groups face financial difficulties given this is not a source of income for anyone on the cast or crew. Overcoming this is easier with spaces like The Junction where you can partner and lower costs. In addition, corporate and government support are always great ways to overcome this challenge.
What are you most looking forward to about this run of the show?
Khalid Bilal: Honestly, I just love performing! So I'm really looking forward to having fun on stage and entertaining everyone who comes to see us.
Gautam Goenka: The audience reaction to this dark, absurd play. I'm really looking forward to that!
A Behanding in Spokane runs from today through to June 29 at 7.30pm. There will also be a matinee performance at 3.30pm on Saturday all at The Junction Dubai, Alserkal Avenue. Check out platinumlist for tix. 

By David Light

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