‘There is drama in every book’ reads a promo for The Hindu Lit for Life 2013 and the performance by Theatre Y at Alliance Francaise on Saturday exemplified it.

Presenting dramatised performances of stories from around the world, the run-up to the third edition of the literary festival paid a tribute to the world of literature and life beyond the familiar.

Theatre Y will present dramatised performances of stories, across the city in the following days. It is a prelude to The Hindu Lit for Life 2013, which will be held at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, Lady Andal School, on February 16 and 17.

The festival had a successful opening in Delhi where the shortlist for The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2012 was announced.

Theatre Y remained faithful to the theme of minimalism, evident from the lack of sets, props and costumes. Often, there would be just one performer in place of three or four.

But the audience lapped up their energetic performances. It laughed at the voyeuristic antics of three ‘vetti pasanga’ in the adaptation of the Urdu story Idlers by Abdus Samad.

It sympathised with the predicament of a 10-year-old caught between a fierce teacher and a classmate who dropped out of school in ‘Banu’, an adaptation of Sammandhangal Yen by Paavannan.

“The same story, when performed at different places, evokes different reactions. During one performance, the audience laughed uproariously, and at another, there was complete silence. This is what we are trying to study — the audience’s reaction to literature,” said theatre Y’s Yog Japee.

The potpourri of stories, written at different points in time and dealing with different aspects of human emotions and issues, was adapted to reflect and suit the needs of modern times.

In ‘Tip Cat’ (adapted from Making Do by Italo Calvino), the king’s messenger, by the order of the king, bans various activities undertaken by citizens. He pauses besides an individual filming a movie and asks, “What’s the name of your film? Is it Vishwa…? Yes? Then it’s banned.”

The story, not surprisingly, ends with a warning-cum-request to respect individual freedom. “I like seeing literature presented in different medium as it adds a different dimension to the work of art, each time. With reading on the decline, if activities like these could bring people, especially kids, to literature, that’s half the job done,” said writer Kalpana Mohan who was at the presentation.

Says Krishnapriya, a working professional, "I loved the way the stories were presented as plays. They were very effective, especially their presentation in Tamil. It has made me curious and has made me want to go beyond the authors and genres I usually read.

Fathima, a branding consultant said, "When we read a book, there's only our perspective at play. But we see it on stage there are numerous perspectives to it. The influences of the writer and actor enrich the presentation."

Akshay, another working professional said, "The experience has been interesting because I have been introduced to various authors and translated works which I think I might pick up to read in the future."

Nirmala Lakshman, director, The Hindu, is the curator and festival director of The Hindu Lit for Life 2013.

The festival is presented by VGN and powered by VIT University. Associate sponsor: Shriram Chits; official car partner: Volvo; hospitality partner: The Leela Palace, Chennai; bookstore partner: Landmark; radio partner: Chennai Live; event partner: Aura

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