PRODUCTIONS

 

A.Directd by Chandradasan

1.Karnnabharam (The anguish of Karnna, an adaptation of a Sanskrit play by Bhasa)

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: by Bhasa (500 BC)
Translation: Kavalam Narayana Panikker

Music : Bijibal
Light Design: Gireesh Menon, Jayakumar natyagraham (late)
Duration of the play: 65 mts
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This play projects the mortal anguish of a man unsure of his identity. Karnna the protagonist is heroic and heartbroken at the same time as he tries to find his place between the mocking and adulation of social forces on one side and the taunting challenges of fate on the other.

The treatment of the play reaches beyond caricature of farce into a realm that transcends the space and time and gets related to the social realities of today. Karnna lingers in one’s consciousness as the symbol of Universal man in search of his own self and the ultimate dilemma of existence.

This production synthesizes traditional forms, like Koodiyattam, Kathakali, Kalarippayattu, Padayani, Sopanasageetham etc., to form a modern theatrical idiom in harmony with the cultural heritage of the land. This is the result of the search for an indigenous Indian Theatre. The style of acting, movement pattern and choreography, music and costumes are thus, modern and at the same time traditional. A unique lighting is used to add to the theatrical ecstasy. It is an actor’s play which breaks away from set patterns.

Story line

The time and space of action is from the eleventh day in the Warfield of Mahabharata.

According to the Indian theatre tradition, the play starts with Nandi of the Suthradhara which is interrupted by sound echoed from the war. A warrior from Duryodhana calls Karnna to fight for his side as Bhishma has fallen.

The great warrior Karna, the son of Soorya is seen distributed and depressed in the Warfield instead of being mighty and powerful. The play analyses the reasons.

He is worried of his birth, his caste and his social status. Whether he is the son of Kunthi and Soorya, or Radha and Sutha? The mockery and adulation of the society moulds his persona and fate. For a while he is moved by the meaninglessness of the war where men kill each other. He says that irrespective of his win or loss, war is a real waste. This vision adds to his turbulence.

Karna tells Salyar about the curse given by his Guru, Parasurama. This episode is enacted by correlating the narration of the present with the enacting of the past. The astra advised by Parasurama is found power less at the needed hour.

The entry of Indra disguised as a Brahmin, follows, who cunningly takes away the divine Kavacha and Kundala from Karnna. He understands that the whole plot is master minded by the shrewd Krishna and accepts his fate in return when a messenger from Indra offers a powerful weapon Vimala which can destroy one among the Pandavas. Karna is not willing to accept a return for his generosity. But he messenger insists ’This is the word of a Brahmin’ which Karna accept.

Accepting the challenge from Arjuna and Krishna the revitalized Karna proceed to this ultimate fate heroically. Thus ends Bhasa’s play Karnnabharam.

2.Paattabakki (The Balance Lease - a the first political play in Malayalam written by K.Damodaran)

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: by K Damodaran (1912-76)

Set: Jolly Antony, Sudheer Babu
Music: Bijibal
Light Design: Gireesh Menon
Duration of the play: 100 mts.

As early as in 1936 when the political arena in Kerala was becoming more and more tense with the peasant landlord antagonism and anti-British movement, the ideological intellectualism of the middle class was struggling to find strategies of containment in various fields of creative activity. The age-old concept of a coercive aesthetics of "divine bliss" and the appropriation of the cultural life and elemental human experience of the majority came to have little significance in the newly evolved performance praxis which clearly was being determined by the social contradictions of the times. Here, art and performance became a highly conscious and rational social activity for the new playwrights who were basically social reformers first and foremost. The shaping spirit of this newly emerged theatre practice with an aggressive aesthetic and performance orientation gave birth to another genre totally new to Malayalam theatre which found its expression in K. Damodaran's Pattabakki (1936). Considered as the first political play in Malayalam, Pattabakki rooted itself in the anti-feudal consciousness of the people, which was getting manifested in the struggles of the peasants against feudal landlordism supported by the British regime. A new structure of human experience, determined, by the socio-political reality undertook the task of vehemently challenging the hegemonic ideology of the times. This new performance pattern which was basically realistic reached every nook and corner of Kerala to establish a lasting effect upon the future developments in the radical theatre practice of Kerala.

Thus, it can be surmised that with K. Damodaran's Pattabakki Malayalam theatre practice came of age in 1937 and the subsequent developments in Kerala theatre very clearly indicates the class-contradictions embedded at the core of the fast changing social formations

Structure wise also the play is interesting. At one level it has a documentary nature that episodically builds up. The different scenes are charged with emotions but the story develops between each scenes. The play has 14 scenes that take place in verandah of a small and decaying hut, a small teashop in the town, the house of the landlord, a street, a small shop, and police station, the office room of the barn of the landlord, under a tree in a street, a prostitution house, and a jail. The locales of scenes suggest the locales where political and social power is operated. The play is written in the realistic style but it is not the naturalism but a suggestive realism is suited for this work. The earlier productions of this play has been on the realistic melodramatic overtones and was over projecting the emotional content of the radical political stands of the play making it a simplistic piece. It is noteworthy that the play did not give a direct answer to the problems it raises but ends in open. When asked what to be done o face such grave exploitation the central character just say that ‘I will tell you”

A Brechtian approach in a didactic and open structure will make the play a new experience. The episodical narrative is addressing the audience directly and mostly talks to them enhancing the dialectical nature of this play. The play is presented in an open space where each of the scenes are arranged in different spaces with suggestive realistic set pieces and props and the audience is made to shift attention from space to space.

The period of this production is set during the 1960s even if the issues raised in this play transcend spaces and time. It is valid as long as the social structure is existing that oppresses the working class people.

Thematically the play speaks about agriculture, the farmer the land owner and the relationships between them and the exploitation. At present even agriculture as a social activity is almost extinct from Kerala life and it will be interesting to enquire the passion with which our farmers worked on the field even under sheer exploitation. It is the sheer social situation that makes the protagonist to thieve and the female lead to opt for prostitution. Theft and prostitution are approached by the playwright not as sin but as the result of social pressure n the oppressed. The presentation of the play in this era will be interesting in this approach to prostitution and thieves and the fake morality that prevails today.

3. Ubu Maharaja (Ubu Roi) A parody in/of Theatre

Translation, Design & Direction Chandradasan

Written by Alfred Jarry (1873-1907)

Music: Sudheer Babu
Costumes: Nandini R Nair

Set: Jolly Antony
Duration of the play: 110 mts
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Ubu Roi was first presented on December 10, 1896 at the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre. The title character, cowardly Père Ubu is egged on by his wife to murder the royal family. He becomes the king of Poland and establishes a reign of terror. Eventually he is defeated by the Tsar and forced into exile to France with Mother Ubu. The events take place in a crazy never-never land, tempo is rapid, and principal characters move through the story like some monstrous puppets on an attack on existing moral and aesthetic values. - In addition to satirizing bourgeois values, Jarry sneers at traditional drama, among others Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The text of Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry seems to narrate the same in a bizarre and grotesque manner. The weird and eccentric creativity of Jarry makes this theme more open and apparent. At times he parodies and makes the Shakespeare play into a flattened sausage and plunges the dagger of mockery from front and back simultaneously. A sort of irreverence to the master playwright seems to work for the benefit of the repositioning of the plot. Macbeth seems to be in a height and has all the valor and courage to be admirable hero. The stature of the character as well as his philosophical and poetic expositions on life in his dialogues shifts him to a zenith much above the other characters. This height in which Macbeth is placed makes him venerable even if he is a blood thirsty tyrant by himself. Ubu nowhere match Macbeth in his valor, character, heroism, understanding of life, reflections, cultured and beautiful language, but the villainy and tyranny of both are corollary. The crookedness of both characters in their plotting and thirst for power are matching; concurrently, both are having the same effect on the fate of the other characters At times Ubu seem to over weigh Macbeth in his tyranny.

After doing an eco political minimalist production of Macbeth, I was fascinated by the theme of the lust for power and the evolution of tyrants. The production of Macbeth underlined the blind ambition and lust for power of a tyrant driven by insecurity and guilt to compound crime after crime, to grow as a bloodthirsty autocrat and suppressor.

So it was interesting to try the same theme I worked in Macbeth to be reworked with Ubu, but this time as comedy, parody, and at times a burlesque. I am quite aware that there is a black humor and a fierce wit running over the whole body of the text of Ubu Roi that made it the forerunner of futurism, Dadaism and the like in literature. I am having a feel that the comedy and grotesque manner in which Ubu is written may make the production more an entertainment for the masses, but eventually they will realize that Ubu is not just a laughing stock but is a real menace to them. He represents many arch images they confront in daily life and contemporary history; he represents the tyranny operating among them in the ground and is immediate. And for the professed modern intellectuals and their pretentious attire, this production may make them stripped and expose their absolute nudity and fallacy.

The first thing that came to my mind is that in 1896, the performance style, the absurd elements, the use of Brechtian elements (a forerunner to the life and theatre of Bertold Brecht himself), the language used, the exposition of the theme, the narrative structure, the design of the play and in short everything that came on stage in Ubu was much new and avant-garde to an extremity that shocked the audience, so much so that they cannot tolerate it. The use of the word merdre (means shit) in literature and theatre was so shocking so that it can quiver of the bourgeoisie morals and pretensions and take the basest of the human rage out of them, so as to attack the production like hooligans of the street, forgetting their “decency, status and behavioral code” in public. Now, time has taken off all these novelties and revolutionary vigor as they had become almost the contemporary ritual and hallmark of modernism – in art, theatre, and literature. Modern theatre and art used these attributes that sprouted in Ubu so extensively that they made the consequence into a stale stage.

Thus when Jarry and Ubu are to be recreated now, it shall not be for the avant-garde elements that prophesied modernism and surrealism into theatre. It has to be renewed with newer meanings and relevance. One thing that I came upon is that the text and performance of Ubu was attacking the then prevailing aristocratic pretensions of theatre, shacked and bombed the then conventions; mocked and ridiculed the bourgeoisie intelligentsia and high art; it was literally throwing merdre on to the face of the prevailing standards and habit of theatre, and its elite sensitivity. And ironically the current icons and signatures of the ‘new elite modern theatre’ are the imageries, surrealism and those avant garde tendencies that originated in Ubu Roi. This modernism in theatre grew to the state of embellishment and pretensions that run to an extent of self negation of the basic human cause and function of theatre itself, such as effective communication, popular entertainment and also the social expositions of the ironies and anxieties of the life and times…. Abstraction, technical excellence, modernist musings, and a well crafted perfection supported by post modernist clichés, has marked the ‘quality of the “new theatre”; the result is that theatre lost its organic quality, its transparency, the potential to expose social ironies, truth and belief of/in the art form; laughter and wit disappeared from theatre spaces, eventually the audience too. The modernism that started in Jarry and Ubu Roi has developed into a sort of neo- elitism, to fallacies and pseudo practices and sensitivities. And all these temperaments are the standards of the capitalistic, market derived aesthetics and sensitivities.

Thus I decided that the production of my Ubu Roi could give an opportunity to negate the current fashion of theatre practices and its operational systems, and thrive for elements more essential to theatre, pragmatic, indigenous and local dramatic traditions. And I decided that I shall do a theatre that is as straight and direct as possible and will be an entertainer with lots of fun, a play for the masses to laugh, enjoy and still yes, that tells them about the terror of an autocrat and despotism that may create a chilling effect on the viewers and their dogma's; A comedy-parody of the bourgeois world spirit, an ironic celebration of its endless adaptability and manifestations of dictatorship.

Thus Ubu became a clown play where all the actors are dressed like and act like clowns. Clowns enacting and narrating the story of Ubu to the audience and the characterizations are mostly grotesque narration, a sort of cartooning interspersed with enactments and direct narrations and reporting so that the story goes smoothly in a single stretch. The level of humor ranges widely from slapstick and crude farce to literate satire. The actors who play distinct characters will add on an extra piece of attire or attachment, over the common clown costume to suggest and identify the characters. The whole play will be developed by improvisation of the text, lines and situations that Jarry had given us. Thus my actors started to train themselves in buffoonery, clowning and slapsticks. The clowns remain as the Master of Ceremonies, the clowns controlling the action, also doubling as narrator and interpreter.

4. Poranadi (The outcast, a play by K.N.Panicker)

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
poetry: K. Satchidanandan
Music: Sivamohan Thampi
Art Direction: Sidharthan
Duration of the play: 110 mts
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The play tells the story of a boarder-dispute between the two principalities of Kattinamkulam and Kadakkarappally. The ruler of the former, his minister and the three chieftains,-all cowards-are frightened over the frequent battles on the border. Once, a bull attacks Rajyasree, the daughter of the King. While all flee in fear including Kamadheeran-the lover of Rajyasree, Pokkan-an out cast defense her.

Those in power were startled. They wanted to get rid of Pokkan. The minister decides to sacrifice him to the family deity to eradicate the sin of the people and the land and to cure Rajyasree who is possessed by the bull. Pokkan is thus declared, as the Poranadi. He is free to do any thing for the next forty one day preceding the Bali. During this period Rajyasree comes closer to him. At the end, the king realizes his folly and settles for a symbolic sacrifice by cutting a pumpkin. Pokkan feels insulted for being equated with a pumpkin. He is furious. He wants to sacrifice himself for the liberation of his motherland; a powerful manifestation of the inner energy of the downcast follows.

Poranadi is an outcaste declared to be sacrificed. The myth is suggestive and it exposes the hypocrisy of those in power and their heinous means to stick to it. A state derives its strength not form the upper strata, but from the lowest, however rude or crude they be.

For the king the Bali is only an anushtana-a ritual, but for Pokkan it is ninam- a bath in blood, an act of self-dedication.

This presentation tries to recreate a rustic festive atmosphere in the background of folk lore by constructing the performance text in local colour with ethnic symbols and images, folk music choreography, myths and believes and with a stylized performance language.

The productions cover an entire open space and eventually the participation of the spectator is anticipated as in a social ritual. Re-invoking the ferocious ritualistic atmosphere and through the festive experience the play identifies with the social anguish of the period.

This production joins the enquiry for a visual language for the new Indian theatre, in form and in content.

5 MACBETH (an eco political adaptation of William Shakespeare's play)

Translation, Design and Direction : Chandradasan

Text: by William Shakespeare
Music : Bijibal M
Light Design: Giresh Menon
Art: Ashanthan
Duration of the play: 90 mts.

Macbeth seems to be getting more and more contemporary all the time. Many recent Macbeth productions have used the play’s focus on the lust for power and issues of sexual identity as a cue to drastically depart from the traditional characters, setting and time frame.

This production underlines the blind ambition and lust for power of a tyrant driven by insecurity and guilt to compound crime after crime, to grow as a bloodthirsty autocrat and suppressor.. The text by William Shakespeare is used as a pretext to analyze and study the phenomena of tyranny and autocracy in a political reading of the play. Macbeth the dark protagonist is the representative, symbol and image of tyranny impersonalized who is repeating in many forms and operational modality all over the world through ages, unleashing murder, ambition, treachery and cruelty.

To behead the oppressor is the right of the people. Unless the people move from the stagnant deep rooted positions Macbeth will continue to rule on. So thus the movement of Birnam wood becomes the movement of the people with an eco political angle. This production tries to engage itself in a dialogue with the audience and tries to initiate them to move and finally join the company of Macduff and others to reestablish the rule of consensus and social justice in the final climax.

The role of the three witches are substituted by three musicians who is present on the central acting area throughout the performance, who sings, renders the lines of the witches and other minor characters rather dispassionately. Also the character of lady Macbeth is changed to suppressed and weeping presence that is tortured and neglected by Macbeth in his relentless pursuit for power. The production does not try to cash the spectacular possibilities of the text and rather tries to move to the distilled essence of the text and its meaning. The acting style is to invoke extensive emotional energy and power in a struggle by the actors with the time, space, the set aesthetical concepts, styles, and methodology of contemporary theatre practice.

This dark play about death and sleep is given a simple narrative form in an acting space designed as an elongated “T”- an elongated thrust- where the audience can have a close viewing and possibility of dialogue is opened. Talking to their face, looking to their eyes, physically touching and making them to sing and join them in the final action is attempted. With a distinctive dark design, a ruthless lonely Macbeth, haunted Lady Macbeth and power struggle, the production tries for a political statement.

6.Medea (adaptation of the Greek classic by Euripides)

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: by Euripides. (BC.480 - 406 BC)
Translation: Puthussery Ramachandran
Music: Bijibal
Light Design: Gireesh Menon, Jayaprakash
Duration of the play: 95 mts.

Euripides’s Medea (BC 431) is a timeless ancient tragedy and remains contemporary and universal, through the ages.. Medea is the image and representative of the female who had been victimized my male authoritarianism through generations, and is highlighting the inadequacies of the socio linguistic distinctions between man and woman. In Greek mythology Medea was princess of Colchis; she was the grand daughter of Helios the sun God, who had affinities with magic, and priestess of Hecate; out of love, Medea helped Jason to steal the Golden Fleece from her father, even dismembering her brother to delay her lover’s pursuers. He swore special reciprocal obligations to her by their right hands, a binding oath guaranteed by the gods.

When the play opens Jason has decided to marry Glauke, the daughter of the King Creon of Corinth, and thus to improve his social standing. Medea and her children are expatriated, without even a family she could return to.

Medea is shown at the beginning, as a typical suffering woman who is mourning,- which is appropriate to Greek women’s confinement to the inner reaches of the house. Then she announces that she is coming out of the house to address the women of the area, identification by the Medea, and the audience. Later Creon confirms his orders of her banishment, calls her cunning with vengeance brewing within her; however he does not want to play the tyrant and Medea persuades him to allow her to remain in Corinth until down the next day.

The quarrel between Medea and Jason is the focus of the play. The arguments range from despair to flippancy, from savagery to debating reasonably. Jason’s nature is revealed during this to be a selfish traitor. Jason argues that he does not go for the second marriage out of passion or lust, but since it will help him to regain power. When Jason is a power seeker, Medea is longing for love and caring. Medea has abandoned her own culture, her native land, parents, and the family as a sacrifice for her love towards Jason. Medea comes from a somewhat tribal nativity where sophistication is not the standards. She does not know to “well behave and speak to with a soft tongue”. Her culture and race is primitive and Jason blames her many times for this. But the ‘uncivilized ’Medea can not accept nor understand Jason’s argument for his second marriage and Jason has all the skills to argue out in his favor. This may raise many questions regarding the concepts and definitions of civilizations, primitivity, ethics and morality.

“Now water flows uphill. Injustice marks itself. Betrayal rules; a woman is too weak, too scared to fight. But wrong her in the marriage bed, and she will have your blood”. The sorcerer in Medea is slowly reborn when she finds out that, the only action she has to perform is to grow as a demigoddess and revenge against and likes of Jason.

Aegis and old friend of Medea, a simple, stupid, shortsighted, egoist gentleman arrives on the scene, wanting to father a son. Medea offers to help him with progeny if he offers her sanctuary when she leaves Corinth. Medea plays on his credulity like a vamp.

She asks her children to take the poisoned ancient gifts to Glauke and she accepts the gift and is eventually killed along with Creon. Soon after the servant brings the news, Medea goes into the room and there kills her own child to complete the revenge to Jason. The fire and the sun inside spirit come out as visible metaphors to complete this act.

At the end of the play, the Sun God’s dragon _ drawn chariot arrives to whisk Medea and her son’s remains. She refuses to allow Jason to bury them – instead she takes the bodies with her so that she, their mother who nurtured and killed them can properly prepare them for burial. She takes her bleeding, lifeless children in her arms and carries them up to her “door” and she slams it with all of Corinth in flame and ashes and Jason a middle-aged shell of man with no ship, no wife, and no children left with; just emptiness around him. Jason is blind with rage and once comes across as the victim when he laments” unholy vile woman, let me touch them, hold them”.

Medea is lifted gradually with the mundane to the heights of a Devi, a semi goddess during the development of the ply. Thus the performance structure and acting process depends and derives from many rituals and dances of Indian tradition, in its spirit, so that the act of Medea the killing of her sons will be watched with a shrilled reverence. The performance invokes the ‘Sun’ in her, and let her ablaze with the fire of divine vengeance. The transformation of the character of Medea from a sweet loveable lady, to the sorceress, to that lover who could sacrifice her relatives, her own land and culture, to that housewife who suffers and keeps everything within her and then finally to the ’semi-divine angry Devi-the grand child of Sun God seated in a floating and elevated fire chariot – whom Jason or other mortals cannot touch induces horrified empathetic passion, transcends time and space to touch the contemporary female existence.

The tragedy of Medea is particular and the same time general to the female gender. Her vengeance arouses from intense human passions that touch ecstasy. She refuses to follow the norms of her gender, repudiating the very grace and charms that is expected of a female. ‘Medea’ would have been simply the story of many a female in generations gone past and in future.

The performance is poetic and looks into the inner psyche but it also invoke and extract the high voltage of energy, derived from high human passion. The sun, the atmosphere of black magic, the ritualistic atmosphere and tribal culture of Medea will add to his experience Euripides has used the plot as a representation of the socio political instabilities in that era, to extract an alchemy where the super natural or the metaphysical become the earthy and mundane reality of human life.

This production is an encounter of the Indian theatre with the Greek in its narrative structure, technique that is modern as well as traditional at the same time. The duration of the play is 100 minutes.

7.Nandan Kadha (The story of Nandan, adaptation of the Tamil play by Indira Parthasarathy

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: Indira Parthasarathi
Translation: Shibu S. Kottaram
Set: Sudheer Babu C. S.
Music: Sebi Nayarambalam
Duration of the play: 120 mts.

This production is an adaptation of the Tamil play written by Indira Parthasarathy based on the myth of Nandanar. The myth is used to analyze the institutionalization of the progressive aspirations and revolting tendencies in social history. To suppress the revolutions, the main stream society accepts and glorifies the revolt, thus by sabotaging its purpose. The opposing force is often mystified and worshiped in this process.

Nandanar is a legendary character in the Tamil psyche that is believed to be born in the Paraya community, one of the lower strata in the social structure. The community of Paraya is bonded agricultural laborers who lived in utter poverty, in mud and darkness like a cow. Nandanar is dissatisfied with the life lived by his class and dreams for an equal footing with the Pappan- the elite. The myth proclaims Nandanar as the Avatar of lord Siva and that finally he merged himself with the divine idol at Chidambaram temple. One story says that Siva and his assistance have done the harvesting for Nandanar.

This play demystifies the myth and hallo around Nandanar. Indira Parthasarathy calls his protagonist as Nandan and not Nandanar, the reverent God-figure. He says that the turn-‘ar’ added to Nandan as the expression of reverence is actually the Cross on his shoulder and is the real reason for the tragedy that happened to him. The whole myth is placed and analyses in the context of the Sanskritisation of the tribal, native and folk culture marginalizing them. In his dream for the salvation of his class from that of the primitive bonded laborer, to a more radiant and aesthetically appealing life, Nandan rejected the sensibilities of his class, his own traditions, rites and rituals for the more elite; Sophisticated and classic breed of the upper class. The elite Pundits suddenly recognize the dangers Nandan is inducing, and they trap him by accepting eventually glorifying him. The Brahminical process of absorbing and glorifying of marginal and opposing cultures is a continuous process through out the history of India. The institutionalization of the rebellion to the main stream is the best technique to defeat and sabotage a revolting voice from the oppressed. This has happened to many a social, religious, spiritual or political leader who tried to empower the oppressed class and cast. The religious financial and political power centers unite together in his pursuit. The play quotes the story of Buddha who preached against the Vedic ideologist and the later acceptance by the same system to negate his teachings effectively.

In this adaptation, the thrust is given to the pressure tactics and the games the main stream institution play to suppress the voice of the oppressed and marginalized. Nandan is just an effigy for all those victims through out the social history and not an individual. This is implied in the production by sharing the character for different actors. The focus is on conflicts between the binary oppositions of the Dalit, and elite, the privileged and the oppressed, the folk and the classic traditions. The oppositions are theatrically expressed by the stylized movements and gestures of the elite characters to the realistic and minimal movement of the Paraya. The costumes, music and the behavior patterns also reveal this polarity. The elite characters are engaged in corporal activities like eating, chewing the thampoolam, sleeping, playing the game of chess, enjoying the classical dance forms, or even in womanizing. The Paraya are in turn engaged in agricultural activities, drinking toddy and offering the same to their primitive Gods, or dancing to their folk rhythms.

The elite has their aesthetics based on the cosmic dance of Siva opposed to the Dalit sensibility of beauty rooted in the movement of the paddy fields in a breeze. Spatially this conflict is manifested in the arrangement of the properties and the characters constituting a feudal space, a slum space and a temple space.

The performance do not tries for a cathartic effect on the tragedy of the protagonist but is aiming to capture the revolts and its defeat, the struggles and the pain of this passing century in theatrical terms. The production is in a casual open space and it joins the enquiry for a visual language for the contemporary Indian theatre in form and in content.

8.Chathankattu (an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest)

Translation, Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: William Shakesphere
Music: Selvaraj
Light Design: Jayakumar
Art Direction: Sidharthan
Duration of the play: 220 mts.

Chathankattu is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is an analysis of the process of colonization. The story takes place in an oriental island, which is fertile and has a musical atmosphere emanating from mysterious sources. This island is inhibited by ‘subhuman tribes’ having immense ability of performing magic.

The first colonizer Prospero reaches this land with his daughter Miranda by fate, barely escaping the conspiracy of his brother Antonio. He relieves Azhakan Chathan the primitive ‘element’ of the island from a magic bondage and converts ‘it’ to be his trust-worthy slave. The other creature Karumadan Chathan, the prospective ruler of the island too has been tamed by Prospero, with love, education and punishment.

The story takes a turn when the enemies of Prospero pass by the island in a ship. Prospero applies his magic and with the aid of Azhakan Chathan works out the fantasy storm to punish the antagonists and settle a score as a prelude to form ‘a brave new world. Each of the westerner reaching the island after the shipwreck has colonial instincts, which is highlighted in this production. Antonio, Sebastian, Gonzalo, Stephano and even Trinculo are dreaming of converting the island into a colony and are discussing the means to sell the tribal subhuman of the island in a western market.

Before running to his homeland Prospero breaks his magic wand into two. Each piece is taken by Karumadan and Azhakan. The islanders are now destined to face a new but a sad saga of freedom. However Trinculo the jester Stephano the drunkard sticks to the island, playing a significant role in the later fate of the island. This production strives to comprehend the process of forming a colony, the concepts of freedom and power and the inscrutable forces determining the fate of an oriental land. The western impulses bordering on craft have been sidelined, and the thrust is given to the emotions of the native elements of the island. The episodes of the tragic Alonso and his companions, the love sequences of Ferdinand and Miranda etc, are thus treated as in a Comedia-del-Arte.

The production also aims at a distanciation conforming to Indian theatre concepts where actors are performers or demonstrators. The very design of this play in an Arena is a complimentary factor.

The performance text of the play constructed in local colour with multi-faceted masks, ethnic symbols, tantric art, folk music, myths and believes, the stylized performance language and the characteristics of a folk spectacles etc. are intended to maintain an atmosphere of Indianness in this production.

b.Directd by other directors

9. Andha Yugam (The Dark Age - based the Hindi play by Dharmaveer Bharathi directed by Sudheer Babu

Design and Direction: Sudheer Babu

Text: Dharmaveer Bharathi
Translation: A Aravindakshan

Music: Bijibal M
Light Design: Girish Menon
Duration of the play: 55 mts.

This poetic play by Dharmaveer Bharathi is an important play in the repertory of Indian theatre is attempted by the major Indian directors. It explores the ethics of war and the eventual transmission of revenge and extremism into the human psyche.
The contemporary atmosphere of war and antagonism in different manifestations, and the violence breeding in the psyche of human race prompted this independent adaptation of Andha Yug in Malayalam. The central character of the play Aswadhama is the feature of the many, who are victimized to wander, armed with hostility and disgust. He is living beyond the epic of Mahabharata into an everlasting, ever living expression.
Thus this production remembers the contemporary history of war, hatred and revenge and uses documentary footages to develop the stage language.
The play exposes the victims and also the ‘heroes’ who silently spread the message and seeds of violence.
The blindness is the result of hatred of the victim and the attacked, also of the manipulators who refuse to see into the future. This Brahmastra of Aswadhama is the result of all these.
Gandhari blinds her eyes to escape the pretensions of dharma, ethics and morality. She says to Vidura, “I told Duryodhana, Victory will be with dharma only: But was non-existent. The one, whom you call as Divine, is a cheat who limited Dharma to his own fancies.”
Aswadhama has transformed into a powerful bomb that can explode at any moment of time. He asserts to all warmongers of the world and to all who watches and enjoys war from their drawing rooms, “ You the gods of skies, you the ones who gaze war from your own seats, me Aswadhama blind with anger, is transformed into the Brahmastra that can destroy the whole.

10. Innalathe Mazha (an environmental theatre production based on the novel by N.Mohanan scripted & directed by Ullas Mavilai)

Script and Direction: Ullas Mavilai

Based on the novel by: N Mohanan
Set: Sudheer Babu
Light Design: Giressh menon
Music: Santhosh
Duration of the play: 100 mts.

n mohanan transformed the legend of parayi pette panthirukulam (the clan of twelve born to the parayi) into a novel titled Innalathe Mazha; a fiction based on a myth. The time and form structure of the narrative is categorically devised by the novelist himself in his version. This play is a free adaptation of the novel. The director has tried to use the possibilities of environmental theatre to the maximum.

Directors note

Dear director,

me Vararuchi - a Brahmin who tried to transgress the time and fate by wisdom.

This is Panchami. A paraya girl (low caste) who wedded the inevitable fate.

The ten and two tribes of delight and sorrows that were frozen inside the shells of legends and mythology.

Yesterdays rain that spilled out amidst self-conflicts. The several meanings gone unnoticed.

A fool who tries to organize the wounds created by wisdom and the wisdom created by the wound. The hard thorn that was twined on my rag while I was conquering the inherited by the acquired, pester me.

I am burning on in front of a generation that realized its madness.

No, please do not pursue me. Because, in front of you there is a mirror.

Yours truly,

defeated

Vararuchi.

11. Madhura Kandam (The Madhura Episode - written by HS Shivaprakash, directed by R.Raju produced in collaboration with NSD RRC

Design and Direction: R Raju Pondicherry

Written by: HS Shivaprakash

Translation ; MV Pradeep Kumar
Art Set and properties: Sumesh Chittooran
Music: Bijibal
Duration of the play: 95 mts

The Tamil epic ‘Chilappathikaram’ is the cultural heritage and the motherhood of Tamilnadu and Kerala. It has the well-known story of Kannaki ad Kovalan, which is highly dramatic. ‘Maduraikandam’ is the final episode of Chilappathikaram where injustice had occurred to innocent Kovalan. Other than the usual characters, a crowd who is doing stonework is being is highlighted in this play. This labor community constantly creates new space, colour and texture and along with lives their simple innocent lives with purity and kind heartedness, creating music, dance and their own ways of narrating and interpreting stories. So working class and the ruling class in confrontation is the undercurrent of the play. So to say, it is not the usual story of Kannaki and Kovalan but the inner sense of innocence, purity and love which will prevail in humanity, whatever political atrocity takes place.

12. Bhagavadajjuka- Mathavilasam a juxtaposition of two Sanskrit comedies written by Bodhayan & Mahendra Vikrama Varman, directed by V.R.Selvaraj

Concept Design and Direction: Selvaraj VR

Written by: Bodhayan & Mahendra Vikrama Varman
Translation – Kavalam Narayana Panikkar

Set: Sumesh Chittooran
Light Design: Giressh Menon
Duration of the play: 70 mts

‘Bhagavadajjukam’ and ‘Mathavilasam’ are two Sanskrit plays written by Mahendra Vikrama Varman in the 1st century AD and by Bodhayan between 580 and 630 AD. Arguments are still on the fore that the two plays are written by Mahendra Vikrama Varman himself. Both some scholars oppose this. However, both these plays reflect the social as well as political situations of their period through satire. Here, this is an attempt to combine the two texts in one theatrical form without loosing the core.

While merging the texts, efforts are being taken to make it more contemporary and communicative. Situations are designed in a cosmopolitan approach so that it could be related with the cultural identity of any society. Precisely, the basic instinct of Bhagavadajjuka- Mathavilasam is to ridicule the pseudo spirituality of our times to establish power upon hunger and toil of mankind.

C. Children’s plays by Mazhavillu

Girl in the photograph

Text and Direction: Shirly Somasundaran

Costumes; Rema K Nair
Make Up: Pradeep Chittoor
Set: Manoosh & Jolly Antony
Lights: Chandradasan
Duration of the play: 50 mts

The Girl in the Photograph

Kim Phuc, the little girl running through the burning streets of Vietnam

The picture that continuously haunts the conscience of the world population

Victim of Napalm Bomb; victim of war

Victim of many things

The play revolves around Kim Phuc and army pilot John .Plummer. The play depicts the message that children are the true victims of war some times they become living war memorials

Alibabayum Nalpathu Kallanmarum (Alibaba and Forty Thieves) written by Chandrasekhar Kambar.

Translation, Lyrics, Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: Chandrasekhar Kambar
Costumes: Krishna Raghunadh
Music: Gireesh Menon
Set: Bhanuvajanan & Jolly Antony
Duration of the play: 90 mts

Humour and satire, folk elements and music intertwine to present a scathing commentary of the contemporary scene in the works of Chandrasekhar Kambar. Dealing with the themes of corruption and exploitation, beauty and truth, the playwright infused fresh life into Kannada theatre.

‘I belong geographically to a village, and sociologically to what was considered to be an oppressed, uneducated class. I am, therefore, a folk person simply because I honestly cannot be anything else.’ His plays rework his folk heritage from a contemporary perspective, blending folk performance forms, myths, legends, and ritual beliefs. The result is a colorful tapestry of music, dance, song, farce and narration which nevertheless delivers hard-hitting blows at the social system which still exists in India today. In Alibaba and the forty thieves, the well-known tale becomes an enjoyable spoof as well as a comment on greed.

Kambar creatively reworks the Arabian tale of Alibaba, to a vibrant, earthy play to comments on the contemporary Indian society and its religious paranoia. The possibility of a harmonious continuity from Allah to Ganesa is a soothing and poetic possibility. Kambar has very intelligently placed Lord Ganesa into the narrative of the story that takes place in Muslim city of Islampur where Alibaba, a very pious Muslim lives. The presence of Ganesa in the story is as a very natural and spontaneous entity, and he takes part in the ‘leela’ of performing the play. Allah is simultaneously present as an omnipresence deciding and watching the whole sequences of the narrative invisibly and with a celestial indifference. The final testimonial of Marjeena in the last sequence of the play, “Allah’s mercy is great indeed. He came in ganesha’s form and saved us” is a spontaneous and normal statement which is natural to the incidents of the play.

In the performance design it is attempted to keep the possibility of the harmonious continuation of one reality into the other, one belief into the other. The Images and situations in this play are subtle and at the same time comments on the existing polarization based on religious divisions in the society. The whole performance takes place in some social space where it is possible to indicate to contemporary concerns and the present day, making it more immediate. The whole aim is not just to narrate the story of Alibaba, but to delineate the contemporary lack of perspective and vision of the current age.

The narrative of the play is straight, simple, and transparent that is relating to the hilarity and humour of the narration. The performance language is designed so as to give the space for creativity and the histrionic talent of the children, but also serve as critical commentary to the situation enacted. And the whole process of rehearsal was exhilarating to the little actors; a scheme of rehearsal and play making that was more process oriented than the product.

Panjara Saala (the prison/school) written by BV Karanth

Translation, Lyrics, Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: Chandrasekhar Kambar
Costumes: Krishna Raghunadh
Music: Gireesh Menon
Set: Bhanuvajanan & Jolly Antony
Duration of the play: 90 mts

BV Karanth wrote this play in Kannada based on a short story by Rabindra Nadh Tagore.

The storyline is about the futility of contemporary education. The main character is a little parrot that gets trapped in a king's garden. The king asks his ministers to put up a cage like school to impart education to the bird.

The end goal is that the parrot should be able to go back to the forest after one year to pass the message to its fellow beings. But after a year, the bird is almost killed by the rigors of training.

The narrative of the play is straight, simple and is trying to carry the hilarity and humour of the plot. The performance language is designed so as to give the space for creativity and the histrionic talent of the children, a diction that carry not only the meaning and connotation but also serve as critical commentary to the situation enacted. And the whole process of rehearsal was exhilarating to the little actors; a scheme of rehearsal and play making that was more process oriented than product.

The play is translated from Kannada to Malayalam during a workshop for children's plays in South Indian Languages organised by the NSD-RRC in collaboration with Gandhigram University, Tamil Nadu. Care is taken to keep the play of sounds that Karanth had used the narrative in original Kannada text.

Tom and Jerry (a play written by Arun Puthezhath)

Design and Direction: Sudheer Babu

Text: Arun Puthezhath
Art Direction: Sumesh Chittooran
Music: Bijibal
Lighting: Gireesh Menon
Duration of the play: 40 mts

It’s the magical voyage of school kid, Jerry with his delightful supernatural friend Pinocchio. He travels through dreams with his friend. The beauty of nature and melody of love make him more comfortable in this wonderland. He flies with clouds and plays in snow; Enjoys magical friends listening to singing of trees. But the return becomes inevitable. That becomes nightmare... Jerry is in trouble. But he is not alone. Pinocchio is all there to help him.

The cartoon emerged as the most powerful children’s medium since it unleashes unlimited imagination and energy. It makes a kid to love others and nature. And realize the value of relation through seeing life in animals and even in little things. But emergence of new wave cartoons, which use war, terror and super human action heroes, pollute this pure world of imagination. The smell of gun powder replaces animal and frames of cities replace nature. The dream world itself is in trouble.

The story says about the power of lovable characters in binding human relation with its natural humour and emotions. Pinocchio symbolizes the pure spirit of children that could solve many of the problems of new generation kids such isolation.

Slowly we realizes that the dream would exists here itself. It is so close to us. It is with us. After all we all love dreams.

Jerry starts his magical voyage.....

CHARANDAS CHOR (Charandas, the thief) A children's version in Malayalam of the contemporary classic

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: by Habib Tanvir
Translation: Shirly Somasundaran
Music : V.R.Selvaraj
Light Design: Sumesh Chittooran
Duration of the play: 80 mts.

The play chronicles the mundane tale of the eponymous hero; a thief who promises his guru never to tell lies. He takes four other vows in jest: not to eat from a golden plate, not to ride on an elephant at the head of a procession, not to marry a queen, and to decline any offer to become a king.

In one comic episode after another, Charandas manages to elude the clutches of the constable and in time, the thief attains cult status. At this point, he decides to quit robbery, but not before accomplishing his dream of dipping into the state exchequer. He pulls it off, but in the process also filches the heart of the young queen

Wooed by the willful queen, all of Charandas's four promises come back to confront the honest thief. Charandas refuses to go back on his word, and pays with his life.

This is a contemporary play - a metaphor for society. Every character is representative of a certain kind of system that prevails in the society - be it the Havildar (police), guru or the Rani (queen). And Charandas Chor himself represents a thought that can rip off the stereotyped social structure

The original play created from a Rajasthani folk tale by Habib Tanvir and performed all over the world has turned out to be the most important event in the history of Indian theatre Mazhavillu has attempted to create unique version of this contemporary classic, and it has given the children a platform to explore a different world - a world very close to their lives where they come across various characters, explore them, imbibe them and portray them. The rawness of their minds mingled with the tangy flavor of a folk tale gives the play an all together new dimension - a visual delight.

D. Collaborative productions with other groups/agencies

Bommanahalliya Kindari Jogi A children's play in Kannada of the contemporary classic, for MP Prakash Arts Foundation Shimoga, Karnataka.

Adaptation, Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Original poem: by Kuvempu
Set, Art & Properties — ANOOP S KALARICKAL & JOLLY ANTONY

Music Direction — CHANDRASEKHARA ACHAR MYSORE

Lighting— GIREESH MENON

In this beautiful and imaginative adaptation of Browning’s Pied Piper, Kuvempu retains almost all of the original imagery and structure; still the transformation into the Kannada cultural milieu is complete and authentic; the outlook and characteristics of the people and the narrative mode are completely localized to Kannada culture, perspective and expression.

In Kuvempu poem is pungent with increased irony, pun, humor and have the weirdness of abstraction than the original. The poem become much more pleasant, funny and agile in rendering; more narrative, and is set to highly rhythmic and free flowing verse.

The structure of the performance text derived from this poem, naturally will be that of a poetic narrative, sung and enacted by a group of singer-actors. These singers might have traveled through ages and have witnessed/ inherited the poetry from ancestors. The singers join and attach themselves to the action as and when needed, and detach subsequently; they represent the people of the village. This continuous travel from character to singer-narrator and back will give an air of informality and provide a relaxed pursuit to the spectator.

The meaning and objective of this production is basically achieved through the rendering of the characters and their depiction. Each character is delineated and represented in specific exposé so that the narrative is developed into a form that relates to the contemporary reality and time.

Gownder is a usual, inefficient village-chief interested in nothing except collecting taxes, eating and sleeping. He has a big dog to scare people who complains; and is surrounded by a group of worthless intellectuals and advisers, unable to bring about solution to any problem. In a shift from the poem, the Gowda do not offer 6000 gold coins to Jogi, as reward to killing the rats. He offered this amount to any villager to keep his people silent from complaining, and was sure that none will come with any solution. One of the villager in turn told Jogi about this announcement. In fact the village does not have that much money in hand to spare, and Gowda was positioned in between an ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to Jogi.

The Kindari Jogi character is particularly beguiling. Jogi is a performer and charmer who have immense ability to allure people. He boasts that he is the friend of lord Siva and Vishnu and has eradicated rats from Kailasa and Viakunta. And he insists that he shall get the money for his services. The space of the Jogi seems at the meeting point of the world meets with the legends, myths and fantasy; he has a link to mundane and with the imaginary. But he is alien to the rustic simplicity of the rural Bommanahalli and comes from a far away place with some odd objectives which the simpletons of the village cannot recognize. They are victims to the existing practice of the Gowda, the rat attack and later to the ploy of Jogi.

The rats are naughty and daring; they do all kinds of mischief, snatch the headgear of Gownder, and run a parallel government. They are represented with half masks, puppetry (glove, stick and hand) along with physicalisation and speak in a gibberish-rat language and/or also in Kannada. In a metamorphosis the rats throw the headgears/masks/ and puppets to the river at the end of the play, and take the role of children.

The story of the pied piper is narrated direct and simple in this transparent and candid presentation; it is attempted to create a cosmos of the exuberance, earthiness, and hurdles of the rural life where various ecosystems co-exist. The people, Gowda and his men, artist/singers, Bhattas, cat, dog, rats, river and hills coexist to form a complete and balanced universe, mutually complimenting and completing.

Towards the end of the play the people understands the pain of the lone rat and decides not to kill it. The dog understands the reasoning of the people; the lament of the lame child who lost the heaven to be left in this unhappy world reverberates to the sensitivity of the people. It is the empathy with which men and animals understand and responds reciprocally that expresses the mutuality of existence subtly but clearly.

The play is basically designed for a proscenium, but extends beyond even to the outside of the theatre in the finale scene. The actors assemble around the installation of a Jogi sculpture pronouncing that the story of Jogi happened many years before. As a tribute the Jogi story is performed every year and to end the performance they set fire to the Jogi effigy, as reminiscent in Ramleela and many other ritual performances.

The performance structure design and form is derived from many narrative forms from various living traditions. The first part is more hilarious, humorous, and slapstick; the entry of Jogi shifts into a musical narrative where the actors, sing, dance and perform the characters. Use of imaginative sets, properties and music suggest the space, characters, time, as well as the cultural/ political implications of the play.

The narrative of the play is straight, simple, and transparent that is relating to the hilarity and humor of the narration. The performance language is designed so as to give the space for creativity and the histrionic talent of the children, the whole process of rehearsal was exhilarating to the little actors; a scheme of rehearsal and play making that was more process oriented than the product.

Madhavi A Malayalam version of the Hindi play by Bisham Sahni produced by the department of Hindi and performed by the Campus Theatre of St: Albert’s college Eranakulam with the technical collaboration of Lokadharmi.

Design and Direction: CHANDRADASAN

Written by BHISHAM SAHNI

Translation PR VISWAMBHARAN

Set and Art SUMESH CHITTOORAN

Lighting GIREESH MENON

Late Bhishma Sahni was a writer of the masses and not classes. His characters and stories are based on triumphs and traumas of a common man. The content, the theme, the treatment of the issues in his plays are socially relevant and progressive even if they have historical or mythological base.

In `Madhavi' Sahni gives an ideological spin to a story drawn from the Mahabharata while an empathy with the downtrodden is evident.

The storyteller in Madhavi recounts an ancient tale from the Mahabharata. Munikumar Galav must fulfill his promise to his guru, Vishwamitra which is his dharma (duty). Yayati the king-turned-ashramite gives away his daughter Madhavi to Galav in an act of generosity; this is his duty. And in between these fixed notions of male pride and honor lives Madhavi, treated as a mere pawn in the world of masculine action. Blessed with the ability to regain her youth and virginity at will, and the promise that she will mother great kings, she is a valuable asset to the men who use and control her. Till she walks out on them all, denying them the final satisfaction of controlling her will

Madhavi is not a myth, she is a reality. Madhavi has not been vanquished by history, she still lives either in the self-imposed glory of her sacrifice or the heart-rending solitude of her abandonment

Madhavi stands amidst the keen stares of men who weigh upon Madhavi's body - her statistics, skin, shapes. She is treated as a prolific son-generating machine and Galav markets her professionally and stoically. He is insensitive to her moving from harem to harem, leaving a son behind each time.

Yayati gives away his daughter as if she is an inanimate object. Queens who bear daughters are sidelined. By the very nature of the myth, the characters turn wooden. The three kings are just anonymous characters pining for male heirs. Galav, Vishwamitra and Yayati are wooden. But unlike as in the myth, Madhavi is not just a male-bearing womb. She is well portrayed and humanized.

The performance style of the play is direct and transparent which is able to highlight the ideological positions of the various characters and highlighting the revolt springing in Madhavi. She offers herself to be traded for herself not out of her love and sympathy for Galav but also as a mark of protest and revenge to the social system that makes women a tool or an inanimate object. The set is simple and suggestive; the acting pattern is subtle and truthful, devoid of artificial melodramatic exuberance. The music is perceived to be the metaphor that represents the male-female conflict in the play. Finally Madhavi merges with the group of female narrators/singers who narrates the saga of Madhavi with silent tears and pain.

MADHUVE HENNU (the bride) A Play in Kannada in association with Department of Kannada and Culture, Bangalore; performed by Holeranga, Honnali, Karnataka, with the technical collaboration of Lokadharmi. performed by Holeranga

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: H.S.Shivaprakash
poetry: Bidirahalli Narasimha Moorthy

Technical Collaboration Lokadharmi.
Art Direction: Sudheer Babu
Duration of the play: 105 mts
.

About Holeranga
Situated on Bank of Tungabhadra river, Diddibagalu should mute with the changing time until Honnali Holeranga, an amateur troupe associated themselves with this historical monument to develop it an eco theatre, first of its kind in Karnataka

Director's note
This play deals with the elemental nature of passion ambitions, pride, hatred, love and other opposites that make the human life, a tragedy. The play discusses many lives lived by men, animals and even trees and grass. It is a reflection of birth and rebirth concepts of Buddhist doctrine. Life is set to be the coming back from the other shore and it returns. The playwright depicts human drama in a subtle, philosophical, renderings that tough sublimes poetry with metaphors and images. The moonlit river in the forest in which the central character Samani reaches, chased by beer is in itself a dreamy space metaphysical in characteristics, a maya.

The story narrated to Samani by the spirit of the bride-groom that wanders the rivers washing off blood from his hands reveals to her own stories from the past life and also dilemmas in the present. Samani identifies herself as someone who loved to travel to and for the shore of worldly pleasure of love, life and the shore of redemption and enlightenment. Samani understands that she has many lives in the single life. And it is the moonlight that diffuses the paradoxes to a dreamy and solvated unity. In the ultimate pursuit to marry his beloved at all cost, the bridegroom kills the bride and takes her skull to be given as the Vadhudakshina (a bride price), so that he can marry her. Later the killed one has to give redeem to the killer. The paradoxes of human existence where the hunter hunts the quarry, and the quarry hunts the hunter or both the hunter and the quarry are absent to leave the hunt as the basic truth, are told through the many meta-narratives.

The performance space at Holeranga on the bank of Tungabhadra, with ruins of a fort, a leafless tree, thorny bushes, the tiny temple and the slopes of grass running to the river with a moonlight sky above, serves the ideal stage for this saga of sublime and poetic tragedy. The production thrives on the elemental and minimalist usage of dramatic tools even though is spectacular in a way. The culture, music, nature and other rustic life realities of Honnali are infused to form the structure and tone for the play. Human energy and basic acting potential of the local people, mostly tribes were preferred over technical extravaganza. The space design was flexible and informal so that the audience, coming to witness the play, may feel within it and is part of the story retold. This is further invoked by their participation in the final act of offering lamps to the mother Tungabhadra. The dreams, lives, stories of the characters, participants and spectators seem be intertwined. This is a play of opposites that gives the experience of transcendence of space, time and life, as in a dream within a dream.

MATHAVILASAM (the pranks of a drunkard) a comedy in Sanskrit language performed in a sandwich stage performed by Sanskrit college, Tripunithura, in collaboration with Lokadharmi.

Design and Direction: Chandradasan

Text: Mahendra Vikrama Varman
Music: Selvaraj
Duration of the play: 70 mts
.

A social satire is written by he Pallava king Mahendra Vikrama of Kochi of 7th century .A.D

Mathavilasa means the wild pranks of a drunkard. It is the story of Satyasoma, a poor saivaite belonging to the order of Kapalikas. Intoxicated, he wanders with his consort on the streets of Kanchi. On the way he looses his begging bowl. Kapala is his insignia and the loss of this deprives him of his identity. Both walk through the street in search of the Kapala.

On the way they come across a Buddhist Monk Nagasena whom they suspect to thief of the Kapala. There is quarrel between the two. The Monk wails calling the name of Lord Buddha. Now a pasupata of another saivaite order comes on the way. He interferes to arbitrate the case. The only adds to the confusion. At last, they resolve to present the matter before the court.

At this juncture, a mad man enters. He has in his hand a bowl snatched from the mouth of a dog. This is the Kapala they were looking for. The Kapalini gets back the sign of his penance and all are happy.

The moral degradation among various religions sects forms the theme of the play. All the vehement social criticism sarcastic commends are intended to expose their hypocrisy. The lunatic is the only character who is free from these vices. The theme is relevant to all ages.

The play is very much popular on the Koodiyattam stage. But the performance does not do justice to the drama. The first two verses alone are enacted. All the rest is extraneous to the text.

The production keeps up the dramatic form intact. The mode of presentation is straight and simple. The wit and humour is well brought out.