A group of 11 men — dressed in elaborate costumes and sporting colourful shawls — belted out catchy phrases and humorous dialogues

A tarpaulin sheet was pulled over, tables were arranged and loudspeakers were set up, all in a matter of minutes, at the entrance to Chirakulam Colony in the city.

Puzzled over the sudden commotion, a few residents gathered at the spot. To their delight, a street play unfolded in front of them, as a group of 11 men — dressed in elaborate costumes and sporting colourful shawls — belted out catchy phrases and humorous dialogues.

The 28-minute street play ‘Eli vazhum Kalikalam’ was staged here on Sunday in connection with State Health Department's efforts to contain the spread of dengue fever. The presence of actor Suresh Gopi, ambassador of the programme, and Minister for Health V.S.Sivakumar added glamour to the inaugural function of the awareness campaign.

The play, directed by Ebi Thonikal and scripted by Aryanadu Sathyan, was informative, with well posed and dramatic dialogues centring on the theme of cleanliness and waste management with emphasis on good health and hygiene.

“The artists were selected through audition and were given training for 20 days. Most of us are college students and we staged the play successfully in a number of panchayats,” said P. Joseph, leader of the team, which is supported by the Suchitwa Mission and Chirayinkeezhu panchayat.

The team also has a star attraction with Vodafone Comedy Star fame G.S. Suku in a lead role in the skit.

“Street play is an effective art form through which we can connect with the common man. You can convey social messages and useful information in a meaningful manner,” said Mr. Suku , who works at the AIDS Control Society.

We have received requests from various panchayats to stage the play at their colonies. Our aim is to conduct awareness drives in all the panchayats and encourage more people to take up cleanliness measures in their houses and neighbourhood, added Mr. Suku.

The play captures the interest of both the young and the old. We enjoyed the skit and got a lot of useful information, said S. Hema, a resident of the colony.

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