Monday, November 18, 2013

Scenes Behind The Screen Of a Theatre Artiste


Theatre has produced several glorious artistes for our country as well as for our state, while theatre enjoys a sizeable audience, a large number of artist despite being successful in their own right, go unnoticed without their share of fame. Timeout speaks to a theatre artist participating at the ongoing National Theatre Festival on the craft, how artistes prepare for plays, the problems they face and what make them tick.

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"Sometimes we have to practice for months or year for a play and sometimes we have to prepare ourselves in less than a week depending upon the script and circumstances. an artist has to endure a lot of suffering if he want to succeed in theatre." Says Chandradasan, founder of the lokadharmi theatre and one of the directors of Vishwavikhyatmaya Mookku.

Lokadharmi Theatre is based in Kochi, Kerala and has contributed immensely to the growth of the theatre. Established in 1991, the theatre stages play across the country.

"We require different artist across different age groups for a particular play. in our theatre at Kochi, we have around hundreds of artist to choose from for performing in a play. We also have a theatre school and a theatre group for children. Both are the integral part of lokadharmi theatre; children with a desire to act in plays come and join us," Chandradasan said.

On theatre still doing well across the country, Chandradasan a theatre exponent for over 35 years, says that,"It is the love and passion of theatre artistes which has helped the art form survive in our state as well as across the India. there is hardly any good money in theatre but most of our artist have separate source of income and their passion for acting brings them here."

citing the example of national award winning music director Bijibal Maniyil and famous director Roshan Andrews who started their carreers with Lokadharmi theatre, Chandradasan says,"it is not as if overtime, theatre has lost its importance. people still love to watch theatre. Many acclaimed actors, directors and musicians among others have started their carrier from theatre which helped them achieve the peaks of success in their respective fields."

While several steps are being by the state governments to popularise theatre, the National Theatre Festival is actually one of those which serves the purpose of promoting the art form. However it is for the people of the state to decide if we are doing good job or not, say the artist of the lokadharmi theatre.

Vishwavikhyatmaya Mookku is a play directed by Chandradasan and Terry Converse which they staged Tuesday evening at Rabindra Mandap. "The play is staged in malayalam and Gibberish(nonsensical chatter) and around 15 artists perform in 65 minute play. We use gibberish generously throughout our play, as a part of an experiment to show that we can communicate with anyone through signs and body languages.We wanted to convey that language isn't strictly a prerequisite for communicating with others".

The play is about an educated young man who is a foolish simpleton working as a cook in a rich man's house. However he undergoes a transformation after his 24th birthday, and at the end of the play the people around him are shown as the sillier lot  than the cook.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Viswavikhyathamaya Mookku at Odisha National Theatre Festival Bhubaneswar

Lokadharmi performs Viswavikhyathamaya mookku (The World-Renowned Nose ) at Bhubaneswar, Orissa on 12th November 2013.

Viswavikhyathamaya Mookku - .Photo Shobha Menon  (2)The performance of the play takes place as part of the National theatre festival organised by Department of Culture, Govt of Odisha, and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi in association with Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkota and Odisha Natya Sangha. The festival is from 10th Nov to 14th Nov 2013, and the performance is at 6.30 pm at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar.

The other plays in the festival are RUDHHA SANGEET (Bengali) by Kalindi Bratyojan Kolkota written and directed by Brathya Basu, AAKASH (Hindi) by seagull Theatre Gowhati, Assam dramatised and directed by Baharul Islam based on a story by Dr.Bhupendra Nat Saikia, GODOT AAYA KYA? (Hindi) by Avartan Hyderabad, adapted designed and directed by Satyabrata Rout based on the original play written by Samuel Beckett, and Hibakusha (Hindi), by Banjara Theatre Mumbai, designed and directed by Rashi Bunny based on the play Mask of Hiroshima written by Ernest Ferlita.

Viswavikyathamaya Mookku

A foolish, illiterate young man, works as a cook in a hotel. His only ambition is to make sure he has enough snuff to inhale. Something very strange happens to him on his 24th birthday. His nose starts to grow! Day by day, it continues to grow in length until finally it reaches his navel. People from everywhere arrive to gaze upon the extra-ordinary nose! The crowds become a nuisance for the house owner, and he is forced to fire the cook from the job. The cook sits in his hut for days without money food or to buy a pinch of snuff. The crowds keep queuing near his hut, but no one helps the pathetic young man. Finally, he gets furious and asks his mother to shut the door; so the crowd bribes his mother... Money started flowing to the mother and son. Soon they became very rich.

Viswavikhyathamaya Mookku - .Photo Shobha Menon  (3)As the long nosed man becomes famous, politicians hatch conspiracies to capture him. The ruling party wins his loyalty by giving him a title and a gold medal. The president supports and honors him. Soon, the opposition party begins agitating; violence and riots follow; they say the nose is actually a pseudo nose made of rubber! The man was arrested by the police, and his nose examined by expert doctors. The nose is proven real and this causes him to be nominated as a Member of Parliament by the president! But the opposition parties counter this by forming a United Front, and continue their struggle. Basheer’s point is that the incessant controversy generated by the nose is selfishly used by competing parties for self-driven interests. Ultimately, the general populace is shown as more foolish than the poor, former cook ever was.


Rendered in a mix of Malayalam and gibberish, the production will seek to heighten the satire ingrained in the Basheerian story by way of use of masks coupled with grotesque, swift movements in the performance idiom. The play maintains that the story is perfect for bringing the curtains down on an enriching workshop on masks. It uses the story of Basheer as the premise and a group of actors with masks to unmask the absurdity of the socio-political, cultural and media hypocrisy of contemporary society. Straddling the hilarious and the absurd, the nose story throws light on mass psychology that almost borders on nonsense.

Play by Chandra and Terry ConverseIt narrates the story of an idiotic cook finding himself, sporting a growing nose one fine morning. The nose grows exceptionally large and evokes varied feelings, from revulsion in the beginning to adulation and reverence in the end. The growing nose costs the cook his job, but the controversial olfactory organ brings him fame and celebrity status.

Dramatization of Viakom Muhammad Basheer’s famous satirical short story, using mask and gibberish creates a hilarious comedy perfect for a performance project for a workshop on masks to culminate with. In this story, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer satirically exposes the psychology of the masses that runs to nonsense. The story is about a foolish cook who is only interested in having enough food to eat and inhaling snuff, but one day starts to grow an exceptionally long nose. It grows so large, in fact, that initially those who saw it were revolted by the sight. The cook was fired from his job but ultimately because of his controversial nose he became a millionaire and a certified celebrity.

The play uses masks and gibberish, supplemented with hilarious, grotesque and fast movements in the performance language. This production is without scenery, costumes, music and facial expression (as actors will all be masked); the production is challenging for the actors as a test of their ability to communicate and sustain the interest of the spectators without such tools. Devoid of scenery, costumes, music, facial expression and the use of language, this production is challenging the actor to create, communicate and sustain the interest of the audience- an experiment in itself.

Play by Chandra and Terry ConverseThe play is written by Chandradasan, based on the story by Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, and directed by Chandradasan and Terry Converse. (USA)

The artists travelling to Bhubanswar are Selvaraj, Jolly Antony, Johny Thottunkal, Anish Paul, Sujith Kollam, Shaiju T Hamza, Adithye KN, Tony Chacko Stanly, Chandran Arookkutty, Bhanuvajanen, Sanoj Somarajan,Sreenandini J Prasad, Unnimaya Edanilath, Pradeep Sreenivasan, Shanif Marakkar, Madan Kolavil, Terry Converse and Chandradasan

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