‘Theatre Sketches’ comprised five short plays that brilliantly portrayed myriad faces of people and society.
‘Theatre Sketches’, which was staged by Thrissur Nataka Sangom at T.D.M. Hall, Ernakulam, was a successful attempt that brought to the fore the power of theatre once again. With five simple, short and brilliantly directed plays, the group was able to enchant spectators. The first play of ‘Theatre Sketches’ was ‘Post Office’, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous play by the same name. Through the interaction of two characters – Amal, the boy who is confined to his uncle’s house, and his uncle Madhav – this short play beautifully portrays the gist of the original work. Evocative acting by Pratapan, who enacted Madhav, and Mallu P. Sekhar, who donned the role of Amal, was the highlight of the play.
The next was an adaptation of Anton Chekov’s play ‘Fat And Thin’. Two middle-aged strangers meet on a railway platform in a remote place. While they converse, they realise that they were classmates and long lost friends. Thrilled to have discovered each other, they hug and chat. In the course of their conversation, the one who looks like a villager reveals that he is a peon in an engineering college. But, to his surprise, he learns that his childhood friend is now an Under Secretary in the Education Department in Delhi! The mood changes and the villager vanishes into the crowd. Excellent acting by Sudhi Vattitappinni (the villager), and K.B. Hari made the play memorable.
Unlike the previous play, which delineated how social standing could render asunder a friendship, the next one, ‘Paalam’, highlighted man’s ability to connect and overcome barriers of society and language. Written by renowned playwright Jayaprakash Kuloor, the play's original dialogues are in Malayalam. But the actors’ improvised snatches of gibberish struck a chord with the audience. A policeman guarding a prohibited area strictly enforces the rules as a dutiful servant. But, one days he falls asleep and when he wakes up, he finds that a stranger has encroached into the area and is fishing from the bridge. Soon they strike a chord in a language known only to both of them, become friends and fish together. The play talks about the bridge that can be easily built in every human relationship. C.R. Rajan and Sudhi came up with excellent performances as the policeman and the stranger, respectively.
‘Sinkiti’ (Aid), written by the late poet Kunjunni Master, was the fourth play. ‘Sinkiti’ is caught red handed by his boss, a landlord, while he embezzles cash from the sale proceeds of coconuts. But instead of dismissing Sinkiti, the boss presents the matter dramatically and then sacks ‘Sinkiti’. Again, it is the dialogues that poke fun at the verbal games people indulge in. Hari as the boss and Sudhi as Sinkiti portrayed the two characters realistically.
The last play in the ‘Theatrical Sketches’, was ‘46 Chromosomes’, an adaptation of a Gujarati play written by Sreekant Shah. A doctor has to deal with a famer who feels his organs are taking over his body and a youngster who insists on speaking gibberish after his education abroad.
“Through this satire, we wanted to depict the abuse of fertilisers and the over enthusiasm of our parents to send their children abroad for their education,” says K.B. Hari of Thrissur Nataka Sangom. Hari, Sudhi, Prabalan Meloor, C.R.Rajan and O.C.Martin were the actors in the play.