A trilogy of plays for Delhi with the soul of Bangalore.
Ram Ganesh Kamatham's plays take off from life's snippets. They ride on imagination to unravel stories that smack of the times. A trilogy from the young writer/director — “Dancing on Glass”, “Creeper” and “Bust” — will be staged at the India Habitat Centre from Friday.
“All the three plays are integral to Bangalore,” says the 28-year-old Ram. “Dancing on Glass” dwells on the IT and call centre world and the cityscape it is part of. “Creeper” for Ram is about the old meeting the new on quaint ground. “Bust”, written in 2010, travels to the history and the present of Bangalore.
However, the sparks for these plays lie in unlikely episodes. “Creeper” has the most interesting/unsettling origin. “In real life, we have friends passing away and their Facebook and Orkut sites stay on. These sometimes become an online memorial or a cyber graveyard. This phenomenon, morbid as it may be, fascinated me,” says the Bangalore-based playwright.
“Creeper” has strains from Vikram and Betal too and blends the old and the new, the bizarre and the quirky and keeps its ties with the city.
“In my city there are three temples over 1,000 years old. Close to a 9th Century temple today is a cyber café and a gym,” says Ram, about what led to “Bust.” “All three exist within 10 yards of each other and you could walk past without noticing it.”
“Dancing on Glass” quite literally birthed from the image of glass pieces scattered on the road, obviously an accident site.
Ram, meanwhile, has kept his roots in theatre intact, despite a brief stint with a corporate house, which he joined largely to placate people at home. However, after a one-year stint, it has been plays full-time. Ram now edits PT Notes, the in-house magazine of Prithvi theatre. He recently won the Toto Funds the Arts award for creative writing and has also been at the Royal Court's Residency in London. Ram and Mallika Prasad, an NSD graduate, are part of Actor's Ensemble India Forum.
Though he has lost count of the number of plays he has penned, Ram steers away from cramping them into slots. “‘Dancing on Glass' is dark, ‘Creeper' is experimental in structure while ‘Bust' has history. So these are all mixed, cross genre plays.”
Ram calls the three plays, written from 2004 onwards, part of a cycle. With the playwright spending more time in Mumbai, he says, a new set of preoccupations is taking shape. From tales tuned to a city, his eyes are now trained to a “macro” view. The issues are weighty — from “historical amnesia” to language chauvinism and State identity superseding national identity. Ram is still working on ways to train these preoccupations into plays.
TRILOGY ON BANGALORE
Dancing on Glass July 16 – 7.30 p.m.
Creeper July 17 - 7 p.m.
Bust July 18 – 7 p.m.
Keywords: Ram Ganesh Kamatham