Chennai’s Theatrekaran gives the Ramayana a different take in their play, Asuras
Through its upcoming play, Asuras, city-based theatre group Theatrekaran, which also specialises in street play and storytelling, attempts to give the epic Ramayana a different take of their own. Sabarivas, co-founder and director of the play, says, “We wanted to show a different shade of Ramayana, and it’s no easy task. We have tried to make sure the audience empathise for Ravana at the end of the play. We wouldn’t have heard of Ravana crying, but this play will see him crying, and Mandhodari supporting Ravana and giving him the strength to go fight back. People would have heard Rama as a calm and composed man but we wanted to show the other side of Rama to an extent. But in the end nothing changes, Ravana still remains as the man with ego which leads to the destruction of Lanka and his whole family.”
With a script inspired by the 12th-century epic Kamba Ramayanam, written by the Tamil poet Kambar, Asuras is the “poetic journey of Rama and his victory against the demonic powers”. “The whole of Lanka was red with blood, all to feed one man’s (Ravana) ego. But even in those terrible times, the demons too had emotions, and didn’t have a choice - we wanted to portray that in Asuras,” explains Sabarivas, adding that the script for their play was written by Elango and Deepika Kumaravel, and the music was composed by Paul Jacob. The costumes and sets have been designed by two of Theatrekaran’s veterans — Joy Antony, a bharatanatyam dancer from Kalakshetra, and Arul Arthi, an architect.
Revealing that around 100 people responded to their casting call for this play, Sabarivas says, “We have people from the age group of 17–30.” He further adds that the play is open to anyone who is familiar with Indian mythology. “We are looking to take this play in other cities as well. Since it is in English, there will be no language barrier too,” he says, adding that they will be performing their storytelling sessions in Coimbatore next month.
At Museum Theatre. June 15-16. 3 pm and 7 pm, respectively.