Play Until Life…, performed by the Kerala-based troupe Minnaminungale, was all visual splendour, but the narrative flagged in parts
It was a delight for children. And a novel experience for adults. The puppet-cum-shadow play “Until Life…” directed by Brigitte Revelli was performed by the Kerala-based troupe Minnaminungale at the Alliance Francaise recently. Drawing from Indian mythology and French literature, “Until Life…” is a blend of many, many stories: some tragic, others hilarious.
But each story depicted the need of connecting with Nature. The play was a visual splendour on all accounts. One marvelled at the costumes, the masks, the sets, the shadow performances. The play of light and colours appealed.
Despite a pretty-looking stage, however, the narrative flagged in parts. In theatre, recorded music or voice-overs is always risky. The recorded voice-overs could hardly be heard because of the poor acoustics. One had to strain to listen to the dialogues. The flow between stories was, at times, precarious. Had these been taken care of, “Until Life…” would have appealed more. The play begins with an extra terrestrial crow who comes visiting the Earth, because he's been told that it is the only planet with blue expanses of water. What the crow finds, instead, are creatures, absorbed in their selves, who care little for their planet and are ignorant of tales, legends and myths that surround them. Nature, is no longer the ground for creative pursuits, but a site of lust and luxury.
The play attempts to revive our love for Nature through its literary references. The play holds a mirror to society and depicts that our continuing isolation from Nature can lead to undesirable consequences.
Mention must be made of the scene in which Sage Naradainstigates Ravana to take revenge against his enemies, and it was loaded with humour. The influence of various traditional Indian dance forms, particularly Kathakali, sparkled throughout the production.