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A theatre bonanza

T. K. SADASIVAN

Rang Prathiba, an amateur theatre festival in Kochi, showcased plays from all over Kerala and signified a revival of theatre in the State.


Theatre movement in Kerala is slowly reviving and it's future looks safe in the hands of young theatre activists. This is clearly evident in the activities of Rang Prathiba, an amateur theatre festival.

Organised by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, in association with Kerala Fine Arts Society, Ernakulam, the festival showcased 10 select amateur productions by young theatre directors from Kerala.

Interesting mix

The inaugural play, `Porulmozhi' did not live up to the expectations of the audience. The director, Paramod Payyanur's effort to connect events from the Sankaracharya's life to modern day realities was not very successful.

`Pavangal' a theatre version of Victor Hugo's `Les Miserables' the next day was well received. Presented by Sunday Theatre, Kasaragod, under Gopi Kuttikol's direction, the play was well executed. The set, music and costumes were well organised.

The third play was `Agni' by Rangachetthana. `Andha Yugam,' translated from the famous poetic play `Andha Yug' by Dharmveer Bharti and directed by Sudheer Babu, left out the poetic verses from the original play. However, the performance of Selvaraj, who played Dhritarashtra, was exceptional.

The following evening witnessed an excellent and balanced production of `Naga mandala' a popular play by Girish Karnad, which was directed by P. Vijayakumar, Dhanush Theatre, Kochi. Rajesh Sharma as Appanna and Anju S. Nair as Kurudavva delighted the spectators. The play `Labour Room' was staged by Arangottukara Nataka Sangam, Thrissur. It had an all-women cast.


Engrossing fare

`Hijada' by Vinod and Manoj Kumar was effective in capturing the life of eunuchs. `Uratti' which was selected as the best play by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Muthanga, Wayanad, enthralled the audience. Written and directed by Manoj Kana, it depicted the difficulties faced by Adivasis. The highlight of the play were the actors who belonged to the Paniya tribe of Adivasis from Muthanga, Wayanad.

On the ninth day, Prakash Kala Kendram, Kollam, enacted `Chayamukhi,' written and directed by Prasant Narayanan, which engrossed spectators.


It was essentially a director's play, well scripted, designed and executed.

The story revolves around a magical mirror, which Hidumbi presents to Bheema, while in exile, and looks at some of the epic characters and their relationships from a different angle. The portrayal of Keechaka by P.J. Unnikrishnan was outstanding. The finale of the theatre fiesta was an exceptional production of Eugene Ionesco's classic absurd play `Padhom' (Lesson).

Well directed by Jyothish M.G. for Abhinaya, Thiruvananthapuram, the play mesmerised the spectators. Brilliant acting by Shylaja P. Ambu, Sreenivas V.K. and Vishnupriya made the play stand out.


A significant feature of this theatre festival was the inter-active sessions with the directors and prominent theatre personalities.

"I feel happy that theatre is returning to its lost glory," says veteran theatre activist K.S. Gopinath.

There was a large number of theatre enthusiasts on all days. A festival of this kind will definitely boost the theatre movement and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy should take the initiative to carry the momentum further.

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