The Hindu Kodai Nadaga Thiruvizha brings to fore the different facets of Tamil drama

Dramas are not new to Madurai audience as this is the place which contributed significantly to the growth of Tamil theatre. But with the advent of satellite television and technically superior films, the number of stage plays dwindled over the years even though the people craved for good theatre. The ongoing Kodai Nadaga Thiruvizha organised by The Hindu fills that vacuum. The contributions of stage stalwarts like Y.Gee. Mahendra, S.Ve.Shekher, Crazy Mohan and Madhuvanthi Arun are always remembered for their unique scripts, dialogues and performances. They share the same success story of attracting audiences to stage plays.

The entertainment-starved city audience should be on a high with the set of thoughtful plays brought by them this time round. After visiting Coimbatore, Salem and Erode last week, they are now simultaneously staging in Madurai and Tiruchi.

The curtains on the three day fare went up with S.V.Shekher’s Alwaa on Friday evening. The comedy was received well by the applauding audience. Today (Saturday), Maham Enterprises Madhuvanthi Arun is staging Shakthi, a play about a blind woman avenging three gangsters who use her house as asylum to cover up a murder they commit. The play is based on the yesteryears classic Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn and Allan Arnold in the cast.

The theatrical adaptation, says Madhuvanthi Arun, has been done carefully. “The script for the crime thriller has been worked on to suit the modern audience,” she says. The 90 minutes play has no intermission to avoid distractions.

The revolving stage too is a new concept in Tamil theatre. “It is not easy,” says Madhuvanthi. “It needs a lot of rehearsal. The lights remain switched on during the scene change while the stage revolves with the actors.”

Shakthi is Madhuvanthi’s first major directorial venture. “We first staged this play 17 years ago. This time I am doing it with my own unit. It is my guru dakshina to my father Y.Gee. Mahendra. We have made some technical modification for theatrical enhancement,” she says.

National award winner Thotta Tharani has designed the sets for the play and popular film music composer Anirudh has scored music which includes the title song and the background score for the play.

S. Sureshwar, co-director of the play, who dons the main villain’s role, feels that the strength of the script is such that it is relevant even to the modern audience. “The script is gripping and holds the audience to the edge of the seat. Lights and sounds play a major role in the play creating the necessary ambience,” he says.

Sunday is going to be another special day for the audience, with United Amateur Artistes’ Y. Gee Mahendra staging Venkata3, a science comedy, and a rare genre in Tamil theatre. In his inimitable style, he looks into the issue of cloning. Blending humour with a string of thoughtful messages, he cautions people against tampering with nature. The play drives home a valid point that bizarre scientific discoveries can turn into a disaster.

Both the plays will be staged in Lakshmi Sundaram Hall. For further details and tickets dial 9943987031/9841416933.

The event is sponsored by Karur Vysya Bank and the associate sponsors are Shriram Chits and Bharathidasan University.