Theatre Plays organised in connection with the Soorya Dance and Music Festival 2009 covered a wide range of themes. Manu Remakant
The first five days of a theatre festival, organised as part of the Soorya Dance and Music Festival 2009, proved that theatre still has an ardent following in the capital city. All the plays were staged in the auditorium of the Swathi Thirunal Coll ege of Music, Thiruvananthapuram.
‘Melvilasam,’ ‘Premalekhanam’ and ‘Pulari’ – three of Soorya Krishnamoorthy’s plays – were staged on consecutive days. ‘Melvilasam,’ an adaptation of the Hindi play ‘Court Martial’ written by Swadesh Deepak, was a gripping play that flagged off the festival. Caste and its Hydra-like influence on society is the theme of the play that lays bare the trauma of Rama Chandar, a soldier from a ‘backward community’ who is harassed and taunted by his officers who belong to the ‘upper caste.’ Finally, the jawan takes the law into his own hands.
Ram Chandar faces a court martial as he has been accused of murdering his superior officer and wounding another. The ambience of a military court was admirably recreated on stage, preparing the viewers for some nail-biting moments. Thanks to the skill of the actors, the play had the audience glued to their seats though the entire play was staged on the same set.
Krishnan, Vinod Gandhi and Jose P. Raphael effectively played Rama Chandar, the judge Surat Singh and the Captain B.D. Kapoor respectively. ‘Prema lekhanam,’ ‘Jilebi’ and ‘Sookshmacharcha’ were staged on the second day.
‘Prema lekhanam,’ an adaptation of Basheer’s story of the same name, captivated the audience. It was the heart-warming performance of Amalraj and Lekshmi, who are husband and wife in real life too, that stole the show. Amalraj portrayed to perfection the lovelorn Kesavan Nair who tries to barge into Saramma’s cynical and no-nonsense world.
Satire set in the business world
‘Jilebi,’ written by Prakashan Kuthoor, satirises competition in the business world. Two halwa vendors, Appoos and Pappoos, fight it out with slogans that claim that their products are the best in the world.
‘Sookshmacharcha,’ inspired by a story by Tagore, is also a satire but this one is aimed at self-declared pundits in our midst. Jose P. Raphael shines as a retired school teacher who is always on the lookout for some one to impress with the weight of his pedantic arguments.
Hope is the theme of the play ‘Pulari,’ staged on the third day of the festival. The story takes us back into an innocent past where the inhabitants of a village wait for a new dawn. P.J. Radhakrishnan, Arun Palode and G. Sreekumar excelled in their roles of Nanu Nair, the tailor and the postman respectively.
‘Bhagavadajukam,’ directed by veteran theatre person Kavalam Narayana Panikkar and staged by Sopanam Theater, takes the audience into the 10th century AD. Culled from the works of the great poet Bodhayanan, the play deals with issues that are always contemporary.
“It portrays the pathetic condition of spirituality in those times and the story has political undertones that all of us can relate to,” explains Kavalam.
Shandilya exemplifies modern-day political opportunists who switches from one political party to another for personal gain. The scintillating play had a harmonious blend of of music, light and appropriate costumes. Manikandan, Ajayakumar, Saritha and Gireesh excelled in their roles in the play.
Navakerala Kalasamithy, a theatre group from Karalmanna, a village in Palakkad, captured the hearts of the audience with their touching homage to the late singer-composer Baburaj. The play ‘Basthukara,’ directed by Narippatta Raju, is an adaptation of a short story by Shihabuddin Poithumkadavu. The theme revolves around the seminal influence of Baburaj’s music on the life of the hero, Avukkar Haji. However, the hero’s inability in distinguishing good from evil brings about his downfall. Interesting narrative techniques and stagecraft was the highlight of the play. Dinesh portrayed Avukkar Haji convincingly, while Sugathan essayed to perfection Rasheed, who tempts the hero on to the wrong path.
The plays certainly whetted the appetite of the audience who packed the auditorium on all the five days.
Source: The Hindu