Broadway’s ‘Life of Pi’ Wins Three Tony Awards
India-West News Desk
NEW YORK, NY – ‘Life of Pi’ which is now running in Broadway won three prizes at the Tony Awards, held at the United Palace Theatre here on June 11.
Nominated in five design categories, it won Best Lighting Design in a Play (Tim Lutkin); Best Scenic Design in a Play (Tim Hatley and Andrzej Goulding); and Best Sound Design of a Play (Carolyn Downing).
The Broadway show is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Yann Martel, with an Indian protagonist. It is the story of a 16-year-old boy from Pondicherry named Pi, who is stuck on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with only a dangerous, talking, Royal Bengal tiger.
British Asian playwright Lolita Chakrabarti has adapted it for the stage. The witty script has the audience laugh and keep up with the story. On stage are saris, pujas, and Indian-style families.
The movement of the animals controlled brilliantly by dancers, lets the audience forget that it’s very realistic puppetry, so well adapted are the movements of the orangutan, zebra, and hyena.
Combined with immersive design, projection, and lighting, the audience gets a stunning treat. When Pi, played by Hiran Abeysekera, jumps off the boat into the ocean and disappears, the reaction has to be a stunned one. It is a stage after all!
The Tony award-winning designers also seamlessly move the sets from the Indian zoo to the hospital, to the open ocean. It all happens in full view of the audience, rarely are the lights dipped and at no time do the curtains come down.
As the New York Times said, ‘Life of Pi,’ “casts its surreal spell with an intricate, near-magical overlay of video on a clever physical set.”