THEATRE The Madras Players' “Karna” premieres on March 3

The Madras Players start off 2011 with “Karna”, a play on one of the great heroes of The Mahabharata. Several performing traditions across the country and the celluloid have explored the life of Karna. This one's scripted, designed and directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy. It will premiere at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium on March 3, with shows on March 4 and 5 too. The shows are at 7.15 p.m.

The production opens with Karna standing at the war-front, with the single-mindedness to win the war for his friend and king, Duryodhana, and getting ready to face Arjuna, the only warrior whom he thought was equal to him. He little knows or cares about the plots unravelling around him, against him. The dramatic denouement moves through Karna's visitations to his past as well as the recent happenings such as his mother's unfair request, Shalya's act of demoralising Karna according to the request of Dharmaputra and Indra's cunning deception to disarmour Karna according to the counsel of Krishna, all worked through theatre, music, chants, martial arts and dance.

The central part of the script is from 2nd Century poet Bhasa's playlet, Karna Bharam. There are also verses from Vyasa Bharatam (translated from Sanskrit to English by Prabha Sridevan), excerpts from Gurcharan Das' The Difficulty of Being Good, chants from the Rig Veda and two compositions of Muthuswamy Dikshithar.

The play features Anita Ratnam, P.C. Ramakrishna, Mohamed Yusuf, T.T. Srinath, Vidyuth Sreenivasan, Vinod Anand, Mala Govias, Nikhila Kesavan, Anjaly Ariyanayagam, Neeta Srikanth and Karthik Govindaraghavan.

Sandeep Narayan and Swarna Rethas are the musicians, while A. Vasanth Kumar and P. Jayakumar are the Kalari artists. Students of Anita Guha are the dancers; the drummers are A. Shankar, S. Saran and Manikandan. The costume scheme has been conceived of by Kanimozhi and designed by J. Ramya. The set has been designed by M. Siva and Benitha Perciyal. Lighting is by C.J. Rajkumar.

Donor passes are priced at Rs. 300, Rs. 200 and Rs. 100. For instant reservations, call 93819-11977 or 98400-80783. For online booking and home delivery of tickets, visit www.indianstage.in or call 0-98800-36611.

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