Chennai-based Theatre Akku’s latest play Komaligal talks about gender-based violence across society, culture and demography
Directed by Vetri MV, the narrative is partly fiction inspired by several real-life stories
The Theatre scene is back in Chennai and how. With weekends packed with shows, this week we track an 80-minute long Tamil play performance, Komaligal by Theatre Akku in association with Quriosity. Framed around four different stories, the play highlights the plight of women in Indian society who often are the victim of heinous crimes owing to their caste, class and ambitions.
We seat ourselves on the wooden floor of a small room in West Mambalam earlier this week, and caught up with the cast and crew over their rehearsals as they were preparing their revolving stage all dressed as clowns. Expect a two dimensional perspective of how women are at the receiving end of several atrocious crimes. The writers of the play Krishna, Viraji, Chathrien Rajan and Praveen Sahadevan later explain to us how the play intends to bring out stories from both sides. “A lot has been spoken about women falling prey to sexual abuse but there is also another side, which is of a man’s — about why they commit the crime. What goes beyond their act,” says Krishna, who is a law student and has been researching the subject along with other writers for the last six months.
Directed by Vetri MV, who last directed the play Adavu based on a traditional art form Therukoothu, the narrative is partly fiction inspired by several real-life stories. Designed around a minimalist stage that is curiously apt for all the different scenes, the play also dabbles in symbolism and the characters are layered and fraught with internal conflicts. “I wanted to keep it minimal so that we can perform them in many communities including colleges and prisons to create awareness about the issue,” says Vetri.
From talking about the oppression of women based on their caste to highlighting the issues of workplace harassment, capital punishment and other such traumatic topics— this intense play touches upon many subjects that may hit you hard. What makes it more impactful are the brilliant performances by six first time theatre performers including Abinaya, Hariharan, Prasanna, Rohith Muralidharan, Sugamya and S!va. Also, look out for live music (traditional oppari) sung by the artistes on stage and if you are lucky you may get to eat some thaen mittai during the play!
On March 18. 7 pm. At Alliance Française of Madras. Also on March 19 at DakshinChitra at 4.30 pm.