Ranga Shankara has a very laudable project called "Other Voices" where smaller, more intimate plays are sought to be staged to a much smaller audience. One example of this was "1, Madhav Baug", enacted by Revathi which was staged in a small upper room in Ranga Shankara to just 25 viewers at at time.
Tickets for these 9.30pm shows go on sale, however, ONLY at 9pm at Ranga Shankara. And this is proving to be a problem. In fact, if you see this photograph of the announcement of the play, you can see that it says, "tickets will go on sale twenty minutes before the show", that is, at 9.10pm.
Let us consider some scenarios which theatregoers could face at Ranga Shankara. Many of the theatregoers come from far and near to see a play.
If the play finishes by 8.30pm,and they want to see the Other Voices play, too, they are not free to go out somewhere, have a meal and come back, because they must be there at 9pm; this is especially so because only 25 tickets are available, and being late by even 10 minutes could mean that tickets will not be available. If theatregoers have gone out and come back and find that tickets have been sold out, they have stayed back in the area in vain, and could have gone home at the end of the evening’s main performance.
So such theatregoers are forced, willy-nilly, to sit in the Ranga Shankara Cafe and eat something there. Some of them, of course, may like to do so anyway, but the point is that they are not given a choice.
There are also times when the main play goes on beyond 9pm (many performances are 110 or 120 minutes.) These patrons also miss buying the tickets because obviously they cannot come to the counter in time to get the 25 tickets, and several disappointed viewers have expressed their disappointment to me.
If theatregoers are NOT coming for the main play, but want to watch the Other Voices play, they too are in a piquant situation. "1,Madhav Baug", for example, runs for half an hour. But for this half an hour, theatregoers are required to be at Ranga Shankara at LEAST half an hour before the show (otherwise, the same old problem of you-might-not-get-tickets is there) and then wait.
In every way, I find that the practice of putting up just 25 tickets to a show at 9pm is very user-unfriendly for the theatregoers of Ranga Shankara.
Why not put up the sale for the 9.30pm show when the tickets are being sold at the regular time, on a first-come, first-served basis? This will give viewers the flexibility to go out and have a meal, or just arrive in time for the play (if they are not seeing the main performance), or generally not have to wait at Ranga Shankara from just before 9pm to 9.30pm in order to see the show.
Ranga Shankara and Aru….are you listening? I have seen two out of the three Ranga Shankara Other Voices productions and they have both been excellent…so I have a vested interest in seeing that the ticket sales are also made more user-friendly.