Adishakthia��s double feature gets us thinking on what else the epic has to offer
LeTa��S begin with an existential question. If a story isna��t told, does it still retain its relevance? The folks at Adishakti dona��t think so. In fact, they believe wea��ve become disconnected from our myths and symbols. So in the last three years, one of their attempts has been to revisit a once much-interpreted story, the Ramayana. a�?Its multiple voices found expression until the 80sa��in diverse forms ranging from folk and classical to feminist and modern. And then there was a sort of rejection of it. We wanted to bring back those various ways of interpretation and initiate a discourse,a�? begins Vinaykumar KJ, the artistic director of Adishakti. The result is The Tenth Head, Nidravathwam, Hanuman Ramayan and Sita. While the former two will be staged in the city this weekend, the lattera��one of late Adishakti founder Veenapani Chawlaa��s dream playsa��is still a work in progress.
The Tenth Head
Surprisingly, Vinaykumar admits that initially he wasna��t too excited about working with the Ramayana. a�?It doesna��t have many theatrical possibilitiesa��unlike the Mahabharata, which is full of conflict. But then I looked at Raavana; his tenth head has always been a point of contentiona��it offset balance and even confused painters, who couldna��t figure out where to place it. So my play is from its perspective,a�? he says. Having premiered at the 2013 Prithvi Theatre Festival (it also came to the city last year, as part of what the actor calls a feedback-gathering performance), the play is a dialogue on independence and ambition. a�?We never repeat anything. The biggest challenge was finding a new physical language, one that is more internal,a�? says the 45-year-old. With live musica��a jazz arrangement that has the artists turn musiciansa��to enhance the performance, he states that lighting is almost a character, too. a�?It creates spaces for us. Like a camera, it zooms in, gives wide-angle shots and mid-shots,a�? he shares.
On Sunday, Nimmy Raphel will take us on a journey into sleep. a�?What fascinated me was Lakshmana, Kumbhakarna and their relationship with sleep. While the former gave it up for 14 years, the latter was given a boon (or a curse): sleep for six months and stay awake for six,a�? explains Raphel. Though they dona��t cross paths in the epic, for her one-woman act the 32-year-old changed that. a�?I explored their feelings and what I thought their movements would be likea��a frenetic Kumbhakarna making up for lost time and a fast-paced Lakshmana who is gaining time,a�? she states, adding that she relied on movements from forms like kalari to portray the characters.
September 26-27, at Spaces, at 7 pm. Details: 42158062
a��Surya Praphulla Kumar