Moonshine and Skytoffee
‘Moonshine and Skytoffee’ is an amalgamation of two of Basheer’s popular stories, ‘The Card-sharpers Daughter’ and ‘The Love Letter’. Both explore love in unlikely circumstances.
‘The Card-sharper’s Daughter (MucheettukalikkaarantaeyMakal)’ is about the love that develops between Sainaba, the daughter of Ottakannan Pokker - a cardsharper, skilled in luring unsuspecting victims to part with their hard –earned money, and a lovable rogue, Mandan Muthappa, a pickpocket, who considers himself an artist. Though doomed to fail, a combination of persistence, charm and favourable circumstances wins out in the end.
‘The Love Letter (Premalekhanam)’ is about the love of Kesavan Nayar, a Hindu, for his landlord’s daughter Saramma, a Christian. The course of this love affair, which seems completely one-sided at first, is charted with great wit and subtlety by Basheer. In fact both these love stories play themselves out with unexpected twists and turns, all laced with Basheer’s sparkling wit and irrepressible humor.
Though The Card-Sharper’s Daughter was written in1951 and The Love letter in 1943, they are surprisingly ahead of their time with strong women characters and sharp social commentary.
Moonshine and Skytoffee is Perch’s oldest play, and came into being even before Perch was formed. It was first staged in 2004 (in collaboration with Chennai based Magic Lantern) and again revived in 2008 for a 3 week long festival organized by Perch to celebrate Basheer’s centenary year. It was last performed in 2010, after being staged in Chennai, Kozhikode, Bangalore and Mumbai. It is now being revived again for Perch’s 10th year.
Interestingly, Moonshine and Skytoffee was first staged in Ranga Shankara in April 2005, less than a year after it’s opening. It was one of the first plays from Chennai to perform there, and ran to full houses. In fact the second show of the play was houseful despite starting 1 hour late because of no electricity and the mal-functioning of the generator. Subsequently, it was staged in Ranga Shankara by Perch in 2009.