NT Live: Life of Pi
Life of Pi received a well-deserved round of applause from the audience. We discussed the stunning Wyndham’s Theatre performance. We agreed that it had been a long play but it went in a flash, it was so engrossing. It tells the story of Piscine “Pi” Patel, the zookeeper’s son from Pondicherry who claims to have survived a shipwreck in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger opposite him.
Some of us had read the book by Yann Martel, others had seen the film. We certainly felt that the stage performance, with its remarkable menagerie of life size animal puppets, was unique. The clear relationship between puppet and puppeteers on stage provided a powerful, magical experience. The story juggles fantasy and reality, truth and tale-telling and Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation certainly worked for us.
We explored the image of the tiger and what it could represent – was it his father, or death stalking Pi? The group reflected on the role of faith, as religious and philosophical ideas are entwined throughout the play, which is very respectfully Indian and Hindu in nature. Was it faith who helped Pi to survive? We also were in awe of the very clever staging – how did Pi fall into the stage ‘sea’?
A big cheer for Hiran Abeysekera, who played Pi and was on stage for the whole production. What a wonderful, physical performance, filled with emotion. We all felt quite privileged to have seen this production – thanks to National Theatre Live and Rusthall Community Cinema, of course.