THE Shivarama Karanth Rangamandira was packed and overflowing for the plays in the evening. Of the four plays that were performed during the week, two were by the Ninasam Tirugata troupe, one by the Gillo Theatre Repertory, Mumbai, and the other by actors of Heggodu village.
The play that the actors of the village performed was Chirakumara Sabha , Rabindranath Tagore’s play, set in 19th century Kolkata. This light-hearted story of a bachelor’s club brings alive interesting and quirky characters who believe that nobility of purpose can be achieved only through celibacy. But how each of them, in the course of the play, succumbs to natural human desires and emotions makes for hilarious moments. In Chirakumara Sabha , Tagore ridicules the prevalent social customs and comments on the dangers of any kind of idealism taken too far. The pitfalls of normal life are far more human than those of shallow idealism, Tagore seems to say. Directed by Manjunath Badiger, the play not only was entertaining but also had some extraordinary music and fine acting moments.
Namma Samsara , directed by Raghunandan, was the coming together of two plays— Shivabhikku, a verse play written by Raghunandan himself, and Buddha Madhav , based on Omchery Narayana Pillai’s play by the same name. Shivabhikku , set in coastal Karnataka, addresses the devastating effects of special economic zones on the life of a family. The two plays are diverse in nature, but what they seem to commonly address is human greed in the face of which all relationships get dwarfed. The plays were brilliantly designed and ably executed by talented actors.
Uttararamacharita , a fascinating work by Bhavabhuti, is striking for its treatment of time—a complex mix of the past, present and future. The young cast of Tirugata performed this difficult play with confidence and rigour. The play opened to a whole lot of songs that invoked different kinds of imagination of Rama, also, in a way, suggesting Bhavabhuti’s departure from Valmiki. Directed by Venkataramana Aithal and translated into Kannada by Bannanje Govindacharya, the play mesmerised its audience with its poetic lines and the manner in which Bhavabhuti expounds the relationship between the word and its meaning. The play, with striking choreography and music, presents a reflective Rama. The committed young actors did justice to Bhavabhuti.