Sunny Wayne’s debut theatre production Moment Just Before Death to be staged in Kochi

The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award-winning play is written and directed by Liju Krishna

Jose Joy Published :  08th June 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  08th June 2018 06:00 AM

A still from the play

We’ve all heard of stage actors making it big in the movie industry. But, very few have turned around to do something for the theatre scene in Kerala. Among the modern generation of actors, it’s Sunny Wayne who has taken it upon himself to bring together cinema and the stage.

Venturing into the production arena, he’s collaborating with Thrissur-based Saga Entertainments to showcase a Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award-winning play titled Moment Just Before Death, which portrays Northern Kerala’s traditions and life in a contemporary light.

Contemporary take
Sunny couldn’t pick a better person for his debut production than writer and director Liju Krishna. After his film education in Chennai, Liju came back to Kerala to learn the nuances of theatrical art at the Thrissur-based School of Drama.

Liju Krishna

“Cinema and theatre have two languages, and when you understand both you grow stronger in your creative capacities,” says Liju, who has caught the attention of indie movie lovers with his short films Photogenic and Ima (featuring veteran actor Pratap Pothen). “Forgoing the tendency among trained directors to create intellectual material, I want to give life to art that laymen can appreciate.”

Even though it premiered in 2014, the spectacle was hardly hosted in Kerala because of the lack of intimate theatrical spaces (like a black box), which made it difficult to present the play convincingly. Despite this, the 75-minute-long work has travelled to 10 festivals including the 8th Theatre Olympics in 2018.  

Experimental role
Convinced that contemporary theatre needs novel modes of presentation, he invests his creative juices into experimenting with non-linear narratives and ushering in detailing into acting in this debut work.

Liju’s work mostly utilises a visual language for conveying ideas (accompanied by dialogues in Malayalam) and even triggers the olfactory senses of the viewers to tell the tale of an old man who is reminiscing the best moments in his life, as death approaches.

Directing three main actors including Manoj Omen, Sharan Mohan, and Siddharth Varma, the playwright informs that even the setting is communicated to the audience primarily through their bodies rather than through the use of backdrops or props.

“As a director, I am most content with evolving processes to prepare an actor to use his whole body than just the face and there is a sequence in which the protagonist’s character is stripped to the skin,” says the 27-year-old, who has received the Young Artist Award 2011-12 from the Ministry of Culture.

Featuring big names—like the National Award-winning composer Bijibal—on its roster, the production is sure to initiate exchanges between Kerala’s performance art and cinema industry.

Invite only show.
On May 10 at JTPAC.