These guys add a wicked twist to your dinner time. Meet Humour Me, a repertoire that is all set to get you laughing as you tuck in. We spoke to director and actor Dhruv Sachdeva - the man behind Dinner with Pricks. Here's an insight...
Where did the concept of Dinner with Pricks come from?
Dinner for Pricks is an absolutely original concept that I came up with early last year. It is an original script that I have written & directed. The musical content of the show has also been written and composed by me. No other entertainment company or performance-based group has ever done something like this. It is Humour Me's first big showcase of the different kinds of entertainment we seek to offer to our audiences. We have all either experienced or heard of 'supper theatre' as a concept, but this is nothing like 'supper theatre'. Here the audiences get to experience a fictional world and dine at a fantasy restaurant which only pops up for a few hours!
Humour Me is an entertainment brand that aims to change the way live entertainment is perceived by people. We don't believe entertainment is confined to an auditorium or a particular performance space. Humour Me tries to provide the most fantastical entertainment in the most unconventional spaces when you least expect it!
For example- Imagine you are a working professional at a bank, and it's just another mundane Monday, when all of a sudden the lights go out! A bunch of armed masked men storm into the bank, threatening to take the people hostage! Suddenly the entire space is magnificently light up with a burst of colours, and dancers appear out of no where. You are suddenly in a 20-minute musical performance of actors singing and dancing. Your very mundane Monday has turned into an adventure like none other! This is no flash mob. This is your lucky day, and Broadway has decided to come to your door step and entertain you!
The novelty of the concept for me lies in the fact that one does not expect to be dining at a fictional restaurant, and be transported to a different time, setting, whilst the entertainment is not confined to raising of the curtain, or sitting in an auditorium waiting for the show to begin and in turn be entertained. This breaks the conventional approach to entertainment, here the audiences, get the chance to be a part of an experience.
Every Humour Me production aims to be different. Expect the unexpected with every Humour Me production.
Tell us a bit about the concept.
This is the first original musical production in the country, and an experience like none other. We create a fancy French pop-up restaurant from scratch by the name of 'Le Cigare Volant' (The flying cigar) purely for the purpose of this showcase. Guests make reservations at a fictional restaurant, where they are greeted by a fantastical service of waiters (actors) & other odd ball characters. To their surprise they are in a full blown musical situational comedy, where the entertainment is the scandalous jabber from the next tables! Dinner For Pricks- is a social statement on the elite of Delhi, and a satire in musical form.
How was the cast brought together?
Most of the actors in this production are people I have worked with in the past. Over the years I have developed a network of actors & professionals whom I respect and trust in a professional sense. However, because the demands of the creative product are specific, the casting was based on script and the specific needs of the character. This is also a musical production where actors need to be able to sing and dance as well, hence there is only small niche of performers, who have studied this discipline that one can turn to.
Have you guys performed this before or is Delhi the first stop?
'Dinner for Pricks' was performed last year, on the 29 July, 2012, and Le Ciagare Volant popped up at the Park Hotel, in New Delhi. There were two shows that played to packed audiences. However, this time around the creative product (script, music, characters & decor) and experience is entirely different. We want our guests to experience something entirely new, each time they visit the fantastical Le Cigare Volant.
If you have performed it earlier what sort of reactions did you guys get?
The show got an absolutely overwhelming response from it's audiences last year. Despite having played out to an audience that is well exposed, and has probably experienced the best of what 'live entertainment' has to offer from around the world, the show was thoroughly appreciated! Delhi hadn't seen original live and musical content showcased in such a unique way. The talk and buzz from the last show still hasn't died down, and we were absolutely thrilled.
How do you expect Delhi to react to a concept like this?
Delhi has suddenly seen a burst of enthusiasm from various spaces on the cultural front. It is almost as if the city has come alive in the last year or so. People from across the city have become more & more receptive to live entertainment as a medium of entertainment. The people of Delhi are thirsty for intelligent entertainment and creative offerings!
Thus, Delhi audiences are very receptive to new concepts. The people of Delhi love exclusivity! A show like 'Dinner for Pricks' really plays to that exclusivity factor as well, where one can only make reservations for this fantastical journey once in 6 months.
From an entertainment perspective, I believe the Indian theatre and live performance space lacks original intellectual properties and content. Our biggest weakness is the lack of original content with some value. We are still far away from being a structured industry where original content can hold value. There is a definite need to start developing original productions.
That is where Humour Me is different. We write our own scripts, music, and have content that is our own Intellectual Property.
What next for Dinner for Pricks?
'Dinner for Pricks' is a creative property that we aim to bring to the city, and to other metropolitan cities in the country year on year. We want to make 'Le Cigare Volant' that fantastical place that people wait for months to dine in and experience.