Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Setting the Stage for a Dream Theatre


Chandradasan plans to set up a flexible performance space with state-of-the-art acoustics and seating for less than 200 spectators
No amount of heckling can dissuade the truly motivated from chasing their dream.
Chandradasan, artistic director of theatre collective Lokadharmi has demonstrated it beyond doubt. As government institutions that ought to create dedicated performance spaces in the city looked the other way, he refused to cringe into whining mode.
Taking a bold step, he raised Rs.1 crore by selling about 6.5 cents of land with a house at Vyttila and spent nearly half of it to buy 26 cents of land at Manattuparambu, near Naryarambalam, some 11 km from Marine Drive, to construct a ‘Centre for Theatre Research, Training and Performance’.
Dreams, after all, are solitary walks.
A ballpark figure of Rs.3 crore is what he estimates the centre to cost, hoping to raise the outstanding sum through crowd-funding, corporate donations, individual patronage and as grant from government agencies and other institutions. Ved Segan, renowned architect of Mumbai’s Prithvi theatre, visited the property and held discussions with the architects of the project.
 “Theatre productions are perfected over a few performances, but thanks to paucity of quality spaces, we don’t have regular staging of plays,” he rues.
The centre he plans to set up will have a flexible performance space with state-of-the-art acoustics and seating for less than 200 spectators. It will be ideal for theatre workshops and collaborative productions. Given the potential of such a project, the Tourism Department could bring interested tourists to spend an evening for a performance here. A la cinemas, the same production could be staged here for days or months together.
It could also be used for other art performances and even screening of parallel cinema.
Mr. Chandradasan also wants to set up a theatre library, physical and digital, on the premises. Young playwrights could take up writing residency. Theatre badly needs fresh plays, he says.
The plan is to complete the first phase in a year’s time, with the remaining being gradually built. “For now, there’s an urgent need for storage space to keep Lokadharmi’s costumes and theatre properties,” he says.

 “Wannabe actors call me everyday to see if I will organise acting workshops. Such a centre, in a quiet place but within a radius of about 11 km from all major points around the city, would make it possible,” says the professor, all eager to live his dream.

Courtesy - The Hindu Kochi, 21 September 2015