A play and a dance-drama — Kalamanch stages two main productions
MANIPAL: Kalamanch, the award-winning theatre and dramatics club of Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC), performed their two major productions titled ‘Sakharam Binder’ and ‘Surpayan’ on April 12 at Gangubai Hangal Auditorium at Manipal Centre for Humanities (MCH).
‘Sakharam Binder’, adapted from a Marathi play of the same name which was written by renowned playwright Vijay Tendulkar, was set in postcolonial India. It revolved around the life of a man named Sakharam, who completely disregarded cultural and social norms as long as he remained truthful and did not believe in the institution of marriage. The protagonist provided a home to other men’s abandoned wives who otherwise would have been homeless, destitute or murdered in exchange for domestic service and sex slavery. He ruled his home like a gimcrack oppressor, yet each woman was free to leave whenever she pleased. He would even provide them with a sari, some money, and a train ticket when they left. What he did not expect was the arrival of two women at different intervals that would lead to emotional and moral complications, which would become ruinous to everyone involved. The play explored the themes of domestic violence and sexual abuse during the times where women were promised democracy and modernity.
‘Surpayan’, on the other hand, was a classical dance-drama inspired by Kavita Kane’s ‘Lanka’s Princess’. The play re-imagined the mythological epic of Ramayana from the perspective of Surpanakha, the princess of Lanka. The dance-drama introduced her as Meenakshi, the only daughter of Rishi Visravas and Kaikesi, and a sister to Ravana, Kumbhkaran, and Vibhshan, who was often criticised for her actions and deprived of emotional support and love from her parents which led to her becoming a vengeful woman filled with hatred. The drama showcased the role played by Surpanakha’s vengeful spirit in the war between Rama and Ravana and portrayed her as a troubled protagonist which the audience could not help but sympathise with.
‘Sakharam Binder’ was directed by Pooja Parekh and Malavika Nair. “When we first started this play, several aspects of it caught our attention, specifically the implications of sexuality, abuse, laws of morality, etc. And even then, we were left with many questions — questions which were raised in 1972 but still prevail in the 21st century. When we started directing this play, we hoped to answer these unanswered questions but with every passing day, as we understood the play better than the previous day, we realised that this exactly is the beauty of Vijay Tendulkar’s works,” said the directors’ note.
‘Suprayan’ was directed by Samiksha Shetty, Noopur Bhandiwad and Rrishika Kakoty. “This is our debut as directors and right from ideating and everything to putting up this show, it has taken a lot of effort and perseverance. Nevertheless, we are extremely overwhelmed by the results. Everyone in the team, including our friends and representatives of the club, has played a key role in making this dance-drama a reality,” continued the directors’ note, applauding the efforts of the performers.
“The character was very complex and intricate to play and understand. Therefore, it took a lot of time to connect with the character enough to be able to do the play. The audience was very supportive and encouraging which is something every performer wants,” said Akanksha Kimothi, who played the role of Lakshmi in the play ‘Sakharam Binder’.
Both the dramas were very well received by the audience; ‘Sakharam Binder’ entailed an emotionally grasping performance with impeccable comic timing while ‘Surpayan’ appealed to the audience with its memorable formations and choreography.
A student from Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) present in the audience, Akurita, appreciated the light and sound team of the production said, “The plays were wonderful and what created the ambience and set the mood was the incredible lighting and music.”
Featured Image Courtesy: Aditi Desai
Edited by: Nayanatara Jacob