Indianostrum presents a play that explores tragedy with a dash of satire.
With an infusion of native folk art into the theme of the Sri Lankan civil war, Pondicherry-based theatre troupe Indianostrum is bringing Land of Ashes and Diamonds to the city for the first time.
“We couldn’t do anything to stop the war, so the play was a way to find ‘light’ in the darkness,” says founder of Indianostrum, Valavane Koumarane, who directed the play, starring Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Vasanth Selvam and Radhika Prasidhha, among others.
While a majority of the drama is set in Sri Lanka, it speaks about warfare in general and its repercussions.
Staged in Pondicherry over 40 times, the play is a rejig of the group’s 2009 production, Land of Ashes.
The new take touches upon three different themes with a common thread—life during the war, the role of theatre in times of conflict, and
universal spirit (how people get back to being themselves post the bloodshed).
“Theatre to me is not a tool of political propaganda, but a medium which tells stories with heart and soul,” says the 42-year-old, who founded the troupe back in 2007, following his five-year stint with Théâtre du Soleil, from Paris.
With characters speaking Tamil, Kannada and English, the play also features specks of folk art from Karnataka, while narrating a contemporary tale.
The 100-minute drama is a segment of a trilogy in the making, titled Singing about the dark times (an ode to German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s poem, Motto). Koumarane and team are set to present the trilogy’s premiere in Pondicherry, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata in the coming months, followed by a showing at Théâtre du Soleil, in May 2017.
On December 3, 3pm and 7pm. Free entry. At Edouard Michelin Auditorium, Alliance Française de Madras. Details: 28271477
—Sruthi Ganapathy Raman