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Fluid gestures, complex thought



AGILE Sridhar Heggodu was expressive with his body

Prayaana, a smaller version of Ninasam's wandering repertory Tirugaata, has been travelling through the state with its latest production Kolalu Bhomigeetha, a visualisation of three well known poems of Gopalakrishna Adiga. They are Krishnana Kolalu, Sri Ramanavamiya Divasa and Bhomigeetha. The piece, directed by Venkataramana Aithal, was staged at various venues in the city last week.

Known for their complexity and allusiveness, Adiga's poems explore various states of human consciousness, the very experience of being human and the way a human being relates to the earth. The poems are full of images, which are not easy to visualise, particularly for a single actor, without help from any sets, props or costumes. It was performed against a white frame, which outlined a house front using a small wooden stool, which served various purposes. Sridhar Heggodu was very expressive with his body and had the clarity, the energy and the agility of a well-trained actor. He also received excellent support from the two on-stage musicians, Digvijaya Heggodu and Sridhara Bhagavatha. But the poems made difficult viewing. Though music created the lyrical mood and provided some relief, gestures, facial expressions and the tone became rather monotonous. In the absence of anything very dramatic, an hour was a little too long to watch the presentation. One couldn't quite understand the celebratory tone in uttering the last line which seems suggestive of the cynicism and skepticism of the author: "A blind man rides on the shoulders of a lame man. The progress they make, needs to be seen."

Didactic

The show at H.N.Kalakshetra, organised by Samudaya, included another piece - Baa, Kai Thaa (Come, Hold out your Hand!) enacted by Lokadharmi, a group of Ninasam graduates based in Mandya. Based on Varagiri's short story Dhyama-Kenchi, the production was directed by Manju Kodagu.

Baa, Kai Thaa revolves around the plight of two blind beggars who get thrown out of a train in which they are travelling ticketless.

During the course of the night on the deserted railway platform, the two, who have been strangers until now, get so close to each other that they even contemplate buying tickets for their next day's journey, so that they are not parted by the ticket-collector.

This play too used few props and sets. But the five actors were quite versatile and worked well as a team. They made good use of body language and created interesting visuals (though not all of them were necessary). The use of stylised hand masks for the blind couple was effective. The introductory piece using the drums was far too lengthy and repetitive. (Hadn't one seen it in another play, not too long ago?) But the typical activities of a second-class compartment were conjured up well. The end, though overtly didactic, was done well.

LAXMI CHANDRASHEKAR

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