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Monday, May 4, 2009

My association with Theatre

My initiation into Theatre happened when I was studying in class VI. A professional theatre group in my village called BHAVANA THEATRE approached me with an offer. I have to play the role of Raja Harischandra’s son Lohitaksha in the play. They had seen me doing some amateur stage performances in the village with a set of my friends who used to stage some play or the other on every important festival or occasion. I agreed and was fortunate to come into touch with artists of varied caliber and nature. I used to be paid Rs.15/- for every stage performance. We used to go to far off places to stage the drama.

At college, I again came into contact with theatre lovers and kept getting variety of roles in various theatre competitions. I was also very fond of Mime where I felt the potential of an actor is put to utmost challenge.

It was while doing post-graduation in English at Pondicherry University I got the best training in theatre. The drama department of Pondicherry University is called SOPA (Shankaradas Swamigal School of Performing Arts). The head of the department and the faculty were exponents of Therukoothu and folk arts. Some of them had acted in films too. I got a call from one of the students of the department who was doing his Postgraduation in Theatre. He was planning to make a stage adaptation of Herman Hesse’s renowned novel, SIDDHARTHA and I was asked to play Buddha. It was an unforgettable experience as it blended music and stage movement so effectively to create the impact of a river, the most abiding presence in the novel, on stage. It is here I started getting the initial insight into stage techniques. Then came offers from other students of the department and I did plays like ZOO STORY, THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD (a Tamil adaptation, an offstage attempt) etc. It was during ZOO STORY, i got more tips on character portrayal, dialogue delivery and stage effects.

I started experimenting on stage with humorous skits and serious themes, thus discovering my flair for writing and direction. In my village alongwith a group of my friends, I staged a musical adaptation of the poet Edassery’s “Poothappattu” where I learnt more about direction and script writing from stage experience. It continued when I started working in school where I slowly discovered good sets of actors and technicians to give life to my ideas on stage. The recent one was staged for the annual day of our school, scripted and directed by me about a genuine problem faced by children in the age of real estate boom.

Thanks:
1. Faculties of SOPA
2. Mr. Deepan Sivaraman
3. Mr. V.S.Biju
4. Mr. Jyotish
5. Mr.Shibu. S. Kottaram
6. Mr.Pramod Payyanur
7. Mr. Shajahan
8. All the actors and technicians of BHAVANA THEATRE, Manakkad, Karivellur.

Me