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A tale of survival amidst ruin

C. Gouridasan Nair

Abhinaya will stage `Mother Courage and Her Children' today.


I keep the English text near me as the rehearsal progresses and we have had extensive discussion on each dialogue so as to ensure that the no part of the play is lost. Thaninleima



BRECHT REVISITED: NSD graduate S. Thaminleima is directing the play.

The ruinous visage of war is a familiar image in the present times. Pictures of wailing women, blood-spattered homes and dead bodies on desolate pavements are too familiar to be forgotten easily these days. Wars, big and small, also have their beneficiaries, people who are driven by greed and profit-motive. A situation captured in all its complexity by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht in his play `Mother Courage and Her Children.'

Brecht's play would go once again on stage at the Gorky Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram on May 20.

Being produced by Abhinaya, the most active amateur theatre group in Thiruvananthapuram, under a scheme of the Department of Culture, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, the play is being directed by a young alumnus of the National School of Drama, S. Thaninleima, from Manipur.

The cast is from Abhinaya, with the sole exception of M. Sajitha, herself a well-known actress, theatre director and researcher, currently based in New Delhi. Sajitha is doing the lead role of Mother Courage, a woman trapped in a system driven by greed and self-interest, who survives the war at the cost of her children. The cast also includes Sreenivasan, Jaimon, Siby Jose, Murugan, Nidhi, Vishnupriya, Siji, Kannanunni and Manu.

Reflection of our times

PHOTO: S. GOPAKUMAR

COURAGE UNDER FIRE: Of wars and survival.

"We have chosen `Mother Courage' to familiarise our team members with the technique of alienation and to do a play that reflects the current times," says Jyothish of Abhinaya.

Thaninleima and the Abhinaya team have been working from dawn to dusk in a make-shift `chamber' of Abhinaya, amidst a palm grove at Ulloor in the capital city for the last one month.

This is Thaninleima's first exposure to a production in Malayalam. She had done two plays after passing out from NSD, a Manipuri version of `Macbeth' and her own play, `I am not mad.' "I keep the English text near me as the rehearsal progresses and we have had extensive discussions on each dialogue so as to ensure that the no part of the play is lost. I have not gone in for pure alienation techniques. My attempt is to achieve a kind of super realism," Thaninleima says.

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