Three plays provided different views on marriage, friendship and social issues, not all well presented though.

Causes for matrimonial disputes are hard to pin down. What begins as a silly quarrel soon develops into an irreconcilable dispute. Love sours, and romance yields place to a yearning for separation. This is as true of a love match as of an arranged one. All the factors that led to the love match are forgotten and differences of opinion assume larger than life dimensions.

This is what happens in the case of Daisy (Sreelakshmi) and Dinesh (D. Mallikraj) in Ajay Entertainers’ ‘Pirivu Nanmaikke.’ They marry in haste, repent in haste and end up getting divorced. A divorced couple may get back together, but that can happen only after they analyse the reasons for the split and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Marital discord is a subject rife with possibilities.

But while the play maintained a good tempo, and never sagged, it failed to explore the subject from various angles. Instead, it offered a childish solution to a serious problem. Sreelakshmi gave a mature performance. Mallik Raj was poker faced throughout, both when he was in and out of love.

“Anyone can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and Senthil (Vivek Rajagopal) in Chennai Drama House’s ‘Kalyana Velaiyil Karadi’ shows how friendship is destroyed when envy takes over. Senthil’s friend of 28 years, Nagarajan (Karthik Bhatt) gets a promotion in office, while Senthil with equally good credentials is overlooked.

Just before Nagarajan’s promotion is announced, his daughter Shruti and Senthil’s son Swaminathan get engaged to each other. Consumed by envy over Nagarajan’s promotion, Senthil decides to call off the wedding.

How strong are the bonds of friendship? A spirit of competition is what keeps the world going, for how can there be any progress if we are all content to stagnate and are unwilling to compete? But what is the point when healthy desire to compete, turns into a corrosive quality of envy?

The play traversed serious terrain, even while keeping the audience in splits with clever witticisms. However, the troupe needs to practise more, for there were occasions when lines were forgotten. Vikram Mankal as the happy go lucky Mantraprakash, on whom Dame Luck smiles all the time and Srivatsan Krishnamurthy as the grandfather with his droll wit, stole the show. Lots more make-up is necessary to make Karthik Bhatt look middle aged.

Goodwill Stage’s ‘Saalaiyora Pookkal’ (story: T.V.Radhakrishnan, direction: Kovai Padhu) was hampered by a weak script, and burdened with overacting. Ravikumar, who played the lead role, hammed his way through a play that seemed to be caught in a time warp. The main character oozed goodness from every pore, which made him seem unreal, and one began to wish he had a few flaws to compensate for the saccharine effect. Women who, unable to bear the ‘stigma’ of childlessness, condone what must be termed the stupidity and crassness of their husbands, are far removed from today’s world, and perhaps went out of fashion even in the 1980s. Yes, childlessness as a subject can be handled in a play, but it should be dealt with in a more contemporary manner. The ending was mired in mush. The main character was over made-up, and in the glare of the lights, it made him look like anything but the director of a big business concern, which was what he was supposed to be.

The plays were staged at Narada Gana Sabha.