‘Natika,’ a workshop for budding artistes, begins in city

The Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan in the city will witness the performances of some of the best young talents in theatre in the State, as part of ‘Natika’, a three-day workshop for budding theatre artistes which began here on Monday. Around 20 young artistes each from the 14 districts are camping here to learn about the trends in contemporary theatre and to display their own talents to the public.

The workshop here is a continuation of activities which started at the district-level over the past few months.

“This is the second year of Natika, our ambitious project to rejuvenate the theatre scene in the State. We started from the grassroots, by selecting a set of young theatre enthusiasts from every district. At the district-level camps, they sat together and discussed various aspects of theatre over five days and at the end of it evolved a play. A theatre expert was at hand at each of these districts to guide them. All the 14 plays from these districts will be performed here over the three days,” said P.S. Prasanth, Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board, which is organising the workshop.

Inaugurating the workshop, Speaker G. Karthikeyan said that theatre had played a key role in the political and social enlightenment of the Kerala society, right from the time of the State’s formation.

“During the evenings, in every village, the local library or other cultural centre used to transform into a performance space for plays or some other art form. The youth used to gather around and hold discussions on a wide variety of issues. But these days, the queue is more in front of liquor outlets, than near libraries,” Mr. Karthikeyan said.

‘A misconception’

Actor Madhu, who was the chief guest at the function, said that it was a misconception that theatre was suffering due to cinema and television. “It is a misconception and kind of anticipatory bail for theatre practitioners to blame cinema and television for the lack of growth or rather the waning influence of theatre. But look at the situation in places like London or New York. The number of films that release there and the number of available channels in television is huge compared to a city in Kerala, but at the same time it is hard to get a ticket for a theatre performance there.”

He said the reason that people had started moving away from theatre in Kerala was due to the fall in standards, both of performance and available infrastructure.

“Our plays are far from perfect and I have found many instances where the performers mechanically recite the lines without getting into the soul of the character. The young artistes here should take a vow that they would never get on stage without perfecting their parts. This will ensure that people will come back to watch theatre, as they always prefer to watch a real person perform than watch the shadows in a television screen,” he said.