HAVING penned 26 plays, Komal Swaminathan is a familiar name to connoisseurs of Tamil theatre. To celebrate his 80th birth anniversary, city-based theatre group Madras Players is staging Water, based on Swaminathan’s Thaneer Thaneer, penned in 1980. The English play—based on the translation by S Shankar—is set in the fictional village of Athipatti and highlights the plight of rural areas grappling with water crisis. Talking about the play, Dushyanth Gunasekhar, cast member and member of the theatre group’s board, says, “Since the floods, I think it’s evident that the city’s history is intertwined with water. Either we have too much of it or we have nothing at all. This is going to be the case going forward as well, hence making this dialogue relevant.”
Directed by PC Ramakrishna, the play—which has been staged over 250 times, and even adapted into a National Award-winning film by K Balachander in 1981—was staged by the Madras Players for the first time in 2012, marking his directorial debut after 52 years in theatre. For this edition, Ramakrishna has taken Swaminathan’s daughters’ permission to edit the narrative and weave in rustic village music, as connectors.
Veteran set and lighting designer, Victor Paulraj, has also been roped in for the production. “Paulraj has used a ‘less is more’ philosophy. We use a one-piece set with three huts and scene-specific lighting,” adds Gunasekhar, also the founder of city-based theatre group Crea Shakti, who was introduced to the play as a viewer back in 2012. He is excited about bringing it back to the stage, naming language as its biggest strength and challenge. “English becomes so important here because it appeals to a larger, younger audience, which is what PC envisioned. It makes the play that much more universal,” says the 28-year-old. The play is looking to travel to Pondicherry and Trichy next.
Tickets from Rs 200. November 18-20, at 7 pm at Museum Theatre. Details: in.bookmyshow.com