He wrote and directed plays. He taught theatre for a couple of decades. He was a historian and critic of theatre. Vayala Vasudevan Pillai indeed lived a full life and it has been brought alive in a huge book, running into over 750 pages, titled ‘Vayala: Jeevitham, Darshanam, Natakam.’
The book, published by Dr. Vayala Vasudevan Pillai Trust for Research on Theatre and Gandhian Studies, will be released by M.T. Vasudevan Nair, in Kozhikode on Thursday, the World Theatre Day.
The book, edited by Bhanuprakash, is mainly tributes to Vayala from persons from varied backgrounds who were associated with him. There is a moving piece about Vayala by wife Valasala, in which she talks about the poetic way he proposed to her (they had known each other for years).
Actor Jagadeesh is one of his several disciples. The popular actor remembers his days with Vayala who helped him shape up his career as an actor. Jagadeesh was a student at Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram, where Vayala was a lecturer in English before he joined the School of Drama, Thrissur.
Sankar Venkateswaran, one of the bright young talents in Indian theatre; Suveeran, and Pramod Payyannur, both film-makers; and actor Sunil Sukhada were all his students at the School of Drama and they remember their teacher fondly. Sankar writes about how Vayala’s classes inspired him to be a director and about a Japanese tour the School of Drama students had gone on under him.
There are also articles by Kavalam Narayana Panicker, M.K. Sanoo, Murali, K.G. Paulose, who has also penned an impressive preface, Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri, Omcheri, C.L. Jose, K. Jayakumar, John Paul, A. Neelalohithadas, who was his senior at Mar Ivanios College, S. Ramanujam, K.G. Balakrishna Pillai, Civic Chandran, Satheesh K. Satheesh, Sajitha Madathil, and N.P. Vijayakrishnan, among others. There is also an interview Vayala gave Dr. Arsoo. Ten poems written by Vayala are included too. And there are several photographs, from various stages of Vayala’s life.
“The book is the result of two years of painstaking effort,” says Mr. Bhanuprakash.