A Timeless Tale: Madaiah the Cobbler premiers in Chennai
Be it a story, music or theatre, art, in any form has to be felt and experienced differently by different people according to Prasanna Ramaswamy, director of Madaiah the Cobbler, the iconic play, originally written in Kannada by poet and playwright HS Shivapraksh. Staged by The Madras Players, the production, as it premieres in Chennai talks about tyranny, power, greed and environmental disasters.
Set in a fictional kingdom of Bankapuri, the one and a half hour long play is based on a Kannada folktale and has the 12th-century philosopher and social reformer, Basavanna as an important character. With a plot full of archetypes, the script has displaced mountains, rivers and the mother Earth among its characters who take upon themselves the task of destroying a greedy and tyrannical ruler. The play that uses music, movement and colour to come alive also talks about liberation from the idea of Gods and religions.
“What excited me is the plot of the story which emphasises on empowering the marginalised section of the society to take up a resistance movement against power. Also, since there is more of narration in the play than dialogues, the script threw me a challenge to turn it into theatre,” says Prasanna.
From beginners to professional artists with over 40 years of experience, the 22 member team of the play is diverse. With printed background curtains, motifs and materials including plastic, tin, bricks and papers on stage, the set is done up in bright and flashy colours. With musicians performing on stage and actors dancing around holding up colourful masks, Prasanna says, all of these are part of the theatre lingo which is considered as important as the spoken word.
Ask her about her directorial process and she says she seldom works on an original text as it is. “I add a lot of interlinking facts, poetry, excerpts from Greek or Tamil texts and even news articles to the script to make it more dynamic,” she said while adding that since the play talks about Basavanna, she has brought in some Tamil text from the 12th century.
7.15 pm. November 17, 18 and 19 at the Museum Theatre
Tickets: Rs 500, 300, 200 on www.bookmyshow.com. Details: 9381911977