Thursday, August 30, 2012

Draupadi in many moods

Parvathy Nambidi

Lokadharmi Theatre Group’s ‘Draupadi,’ to be staged tomorrow will look into the various shades of the epic character | EPSLokadharmi Theatre Group’s ‘Draupadi,’ to be staged tomorrow will look into the various shades of the epic character | EPS

Draupadi, as one of Mahabharata’s central characters, has always fascinated writers.  There have been several literary works on her, many portraying her as an embodiment of Indian womanhood. And all set to enthral the Kochi audience is Lokadharmi Theatre Group’s ‘Draupadi’, to be staged this Sunday at Changampuzha Samskarika Kendram directed by Chandradasan, the director of the theatre group. The one-and-half hour play will begin by 6.45 pm.

The play, as its title suggests, revolves around the character of Draupadi. The director says he was inspired by the idea after reading the novel ‘Yajnaseni’ written by Prathibha Ray. “I was enamoured by the multiple layers of the character. Novels ‘Ini Njan Urangatte’ by P K Balakrishnan, ‘Randamoozham’ by M T Vasudevan Nair, ‘Bharathaparyadanam’ by Kuttikrishna Marar and ‘Women of Mahabharata’ by Chaturvedi Badrinath were equally inspiring,” he says.

draupadi shobha (29)In the play, the playwright tries to analyse the modern woman through the epic character. “Draupadi is an archetype for woman of all ages. She married five great men, and hence could be considered a content person. But she could also be viewed as someone who had to compromise her preferences and priorities for the sake of others. She was a woman of intelligence and understanding. But she was forced to bear some injustice that came her way, so as to not break the framework of family. In that sense, Draupadi can be viewed as the representative of both the modern woman, and equally that of the marginalised section of the society,” says Chandradasan.

The play is presented in a unique way with several props like paintings, masks, puppeteers. Paintings of many well-known female faces like Sylvia Plath, Madhavi Kutti, Thaslima Nasrin, Silk Smitha and others have been used so as to relate to the present era. Masks are used to symbolise male characters, the concept being introduced by Dr Terry Converse, the Head of the Theatre Department of Washington State University.

Draupadi jipson 20 aug 12 (376)In order to maintain the continuity of the narrative, the same performers appear as different characters. The main character has been presented by Sukanya Shaji, a Kochi based theatre artist. While Adithye K Narayanan performs the role of Arjuna and Krishna, that of Yudhishtira, Bhima and Dushashana are enacted by V R Shelvaraj. Music of the play is by Sreevalsan J Menon. While art is by Shobha Menon, make up is by Pattanam Rasheed. Director Chandradasan, a professor at St Albert’s College has directed more than 40 plays in different languages.

Courtesy 18th New Indian Express August 2012 KOCHI

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