Technopark has a nascent theatre movement

Their numbers may be comparatively fewer than those interested in movies or television, but theatre too has a dedicated band of followers in Technopark. While some of the major companies have active in-house theatre groups who regularly stage plays for company events, some techies are part of local theatre groups and some others often attend workshops on theatre organised either by their companies or by theatre groups in the city. Together they’ve even put up a full-fledged play – as part of Natana’s (Technopark’s cultural club) inaugural ceremony in 2011 and several skits in major cultural events since then.

And now, some of them have hatched a plan to stage another play.

“It’s still very much in its nascent stage. We are also planning a theatre and arts camp at Technopark, most probably in May,” says Lalkishor Gopalakrishna Kurup, a senior lead for automotive infotainment projects at NeST and one of those spearheading this small theatre movement at Technopark. He is “passionate” about theatre and says he has been like that since his childhood days. “I hail from Sooranad village in Kollam and there was plenty of opportunity to watch dramas that were staged during local temple fetes. And then, when I was in class six or so I joined Rangaprabath Children’s theatre group. I was taught the nuances of theatre by doyen Kochunarayana Pillai, the founder of the organisation, himself. I have travelled all over Kerala with the group staging plays. I was active in theatre during my college days too,” says Lal, who wrote the script for Natana’s play.

“The play is untitled.It’s a spoof on the quintessential techie lifestyle. It unfolds through the story of a young techie as she starts her journey in the frenetic world of IT – the long shifts, bossy project managers, and the tens of other things that make life so interesting here. In keeping with the spirit of Natana, the drama ends with a message that techie lifestyles should not only be about work. Techies should expend a little bit of their creativity on the arts too,” explains Lalkishor, who will most probably be writing and directing the new play. “The problem with such a project is that it’s very difficult to coordinate schedules as most of us have jobs that involve a lot of travelling. For example, I couldn’t watch Natana’s play – my first ever production – because I had to fly to Japan on an assignment, the day before!” says Lalkishor.

Most of the techies seem to have developed their passion for theatre during their school/college years. Says Ramakrishnan Sarma, who works as technical director at Greencraft IT Solutions: “In the early 90s, during my college years, I was part of a campus theatre group based at University College. We used to stage many dramas, street plays, and so on. Our drama ‘Blind’ even won awards at the University youth fete. I am now part of a Manacaud-based theatre club called Sree Swati Kalakendra.”

Techie Pradeep Joseph, says: “I too have always been passionate about theatre and acting. These days I rarely get time for theatre but I try and do as much as I can – on stage, back stage, script, lighting…, whenever I get the opportunity. I’ve directed and acted in many plays for Lourdes Forane church at PMG. I’m also part of Madhurima, a club of music enthusiasts, and we sometimes put on skits.”

Techies and colleagues Jikku James and Blessy Martin, both of who work for an MNC, meanwhile, are keen participants of theatre workshops and in in-house theatre. Says Jikku: “There are so many theatre enthusiasts in our company that we are planning to launch a theatre club, most probably in May. It has been tentatively titled Third Bell.”

All these theatre enthusiasts seem to think that doing theatre is sort of similar to life in the IT world. Says Pradeep: “Theatre, much like in IT, is about team work and team bonding. You can each excel at your individual tasks but if entire the team isn’t on the same plane, the whole act/process can fall flat!”