Celebrating World Theatre Day in Chennai
As Chennai awaits The Motley Theatre’s performance later this June (hosted by Pooja Malhotra), a bunch of city-based troupes are doing their bit to observe World Theatre Day. Usual suspects like Theatre Nisha and Crea-Shakthi are set to stage new productions, while others like the Chennai chapter of the World Theatre Day group are conducting a fresh edition of their popular initiative, Kichidi Theatre. Notable omissions from the list this year are The Madras Players and Perch. Veteran theatre actor and voice artiste PC Ramakrishna admits that many of the groups did not have the time to plan anything particularly for this World Theatre Day, owing to personal commitments of some of their members. Perch, on the other hand, just completed a show in Bengaluru last week, with a play called Moonshine and Skytoffee. Ramakrishna believes the occasion is mostly celebrated by, and for, aspiring artistes. “We are happy to take a backseat and see the youngsters take centrestage, and we are also open to assisting them in any capacity if required,” he assures.
Strength and honour
Crea-Shakthi’s MY Theatre Festival continues with Bhima, a play that was nominated at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META), earlier this year. Directed by Anitha Santhanam, it is a Koodiyattam interpretation of the life of the powerful Pandava prince and will be presented by Bengaluru-based group, Our Theatre. It also draws inspiration from three books — Ashok Malhotra’s Child Man, MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randamoozham and Jeanette Winterson’s Weight. Performed by artistes Vivek Vijayakumaran and Sachin Gurjale, the play blends music and poetry into the narrative, while the simplistic lighting sets the right tone. At Alliance Française. On March 25, 3 pm onwards. Details: creashakthi.com
Kichidi Theatre’s open format is a hit with young artistes. It has seven ten-minute plays chosen by city-based directors who will classify registrants into the roles of actors, playwrights and backstage crew. Over 80 actors, around 15 playwrights and 10 crew members have signed up. The catch? They will be given just one day to rehearse before they perform. At The Wandering Artist on March 26, 3 pm-8.30 pm. Tickets at `200 per head at eventjini.com
On the spot
Theatre Nisha’s focus is on anybody interested in drama. Their annual workshop, The Play is the Thing (inset), is a two-day event that will train participants (ages 16 to 40) in skills like physical expressions and verbal communication. Meera Sitaraman explains, “Unlike last year, which was a one-day workshop focussing on basics, this time, we are going a step ahead and conducting a play based on what the participants learn over the course of two days. Slots are limited to 20, and the play will be part of Studio 360’s Black Box Show series.” This will be followed by her portrayal of Rani Lakshmibai in Theatre Nisha’s solo production, Gallantly Fought The Queen (On March 27). The Play is the Thing is on March 25-26. Registrations at `3,000 per head. Details: 9677172897
Anantharaman Karthik, who will also be seen in Theatre Nisha’s workshop, will again be presenting his solo production, Somewhere Between The Sky and Sea, after debuting it late last year. Based on an anthology of short plays by Alex Broun, the founder of the Short + Sweet festival, this production presents the concept of love in its myriad forms. With lighting designed by Victor Paulraj, the play features eight actors, including Karthik himself. At Alliance Française. April 2, 4 pm & 7 pm. Details: madras.afindia.org
Sending a message
Ask Jill Navarre, artistic director of The Auroville Theatre Group, what she has up her sleeve for the big day, and she replies, “We are conducting rehearsals for our upcoming play, All My Sons, based on Arthur Miller’s 1947 play of the same name. Ten of our members will be acting in the play, out of which six of them are from outside Auroville.” She adds that they chose this play “because it speaks about people taking up responsibilities on their own and working for the overall betterment of society.” Although the date of the play is not fixed, Jill is candid enough to invite the public to see them practice. “They can also have discussions with us about the play, and also theatre in general. All they need to do is to visit CRIPA-Centre For Research in the Performing Arts, the venue of our rehearsals,” she informs. Contact Jill at 9846416173. Details: auroville.org
World Theatre Day is on March 27.