Home Chennai Culture play: The politics of family

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    Mangalam, with a strong cast line up, explores the complexities of typical families and the woman’s place in it all

    Set in the seventies, a fairly average Brahmin family is contending with the death of the eponymous mother, Mangalam. Your attention is assured with long-held secrets, guilt, and mysteries in this two-act play. Abhinav Suresh, director of Mangalam, points, “Some issues don’t change, Mang-alam is about exploring them — family politics, infidelity, sexual issues, relationships — and getting a stronger perspective on them.” The production is a collaboration bet-ween Crea-Shakthi, a Chennai-based theatre group and The Madras Players. Written by Poile Sengupta, the script, which won The Hindu — Madras Players Award in 1993, is highly women-centric and known for its motifs of abuse and violence, not necessarily physical.

    Abhinav Suresh

    Abhinav Suresh

    The players
    On the cast, veteran actor, P C Ramakrishna (also a major contributor in the decision to produce the play) “was a natural fit for the role of Dorai” the patriarch widower. Sumitra M Gautama, another veteran performer makes a comeback after 15 years. The rest of the cast, including Venkataraman Balakrishnan, Dharma Raman, Vaidhya M Sundar, Murali Satagopan, Nayantara Nayar, and Vinithra Madhavan Menon are “mostly experienced actors who are not just a fit for their roles but whom I trust deeply,” Suresh assures.

    The setting
    Suresh, an evident fan of symbolism, promises a visual experience of detailed and clever imagery. Props will remain true to the era the play is set in. “We are introducing live music in the show with the veenai. It symbolises the woman; culture and respecting it.”
    At the Museum Theatre. On November 29-December 1. Details: 9381911977

    —Ashwini Shivaraman

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