chat Solo-artiste Maya Krishna Rao throws light on what goes into her performances

She is the embodiment of grace, fluidity and motion. Ace Kathakali dancer and theatre artiste, Maya Krishna Rao, known for her solo performances, scripts, performs and directs herself. She was recently felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi award.

A big part of Maya's work involves amalgamating theatre and education where nothing is about rehearsals. She is trying to promote drama as a method of teaching in itself. “A child touched by the arts and theatre will end up becoming a fuller person…” she feels.

Maya says she loves working on stories that switch between the personal and the larger picture off and on. “It should go back and forth, bring out the bigger picture through a personal narrative. One of my first plays Khol-Do is a story by Saadat Hassan Manto, about a father who loses his daughter; it is engaging because it is set in the backdrop of the Partition; that lends a purpose to the story.”

Theatre, she feels should be the right mix of society, politics and relationships. “Anything to do with pure personal relationships doesn't interest or move me. There should be a sort of a political or a circumstantial backdrop.”

Her tryst with theatre began during college and meandered along the feminist movement. Her first plays were about custodial rape and dowry. Human predicament, she says forms her biggest muse.

“What people do when they are caught in a moment - theatre must extract that, not in a cerebral fashion but creating an image of the body and mind.”

Her recent performance of Ravanama a solo-piece about the performer seeking the Ravana that Kathakali founded. Maya's work is a concoction of comedy and satire. “I love making people laugh, comedy is a big part of my theatre,” she says.

The usual one-liner comedy doesn't really do much, she adds. She feels comedy should be reflective of the times and drive home a certain message. Maya leaves us with a thought, “Nothing about the work that you do should be simple. Don't accept things as they are, everything should be questioned.”