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'ART' and friendship

EVAM IS the newest entertainment company in Chennai. With their spirit of entrepreneurship, they ``hope to make an art form into a science and in time evolve into many mediums and build high levels of interactivity points''.

Karthik Kumar, Sunil Vishnu and Preethi Sanjeevi, from Mudra Institute of Communications, form the core of EVAM. HSBC, their primary sponsor, hopes that the partnership will continue into the future and as EVAM evolves they will address for them a very critical market — the youth sector.

Last week they presented their first module to an invited audience and the media at The Park. The evening premiered "ART" by EVAM along with an exhibition of digital art, meant to get the people into the art frame of mind.

"ART", written by the Paris-based playwright Yasmina Reza, is an amusing dialogue, which can operate at least at two levels. There is much talk about Art. Modernism and post-modernism are discussed as also the stands people take with regard to the art of our time.

At the other level, the script explores the relationships and interrelationships amongst its three characters with an invitation to mess around with the id, ego and super ego.

"ART" by EVAM steered clear of these rather over-flogged intellectual challenges, to focus on the three characters and their meaning for each other.

Marc (Karthik Kumar), Serge (Jimmy) and Yvan (Sunil Vishnu K.) are buddies for life. That's when Serge buys a white on white painting with a prohibitive price tag from an unknown artist. "ART" is about what happens after that. Marc is outraged. How can Serge see gradations in the white when he sees only white? Art divides opinions. There are violations of personal space and assumed roles.

Yvan doesn't think it's a big deal if Serge wants to spend that kind of money on white. He is open to looking at the painting through Serge's eyes when he is with him or from Marc's point of view when he's with Marc. He will not allow the whiteness of a work of art to destroy their friendship.

When the three get together, changing patterns in interpersonal relationships emerge. Yvan with his open-faced innocence gets caught between Serge and Mark. Then comes the moment of release when Mark takes the pen from Serge to nullify the whiteness. And they live happily ever after.

EVAM delivered what they said they would. The production was well rehearsed and well enacted. As boundaries that separated the stage from the audience blurred, the actors reached out to the audience as identifiable characters in real life situations, offloading onto the spectators.

Character delineation was well worked out and communicated with great sensitivity. It was exciting to see a cast so consciously supportive of each other.

The action was well paced and pitched right. Direction (by EVAM!) made the best of the make shift stage at The Park. Young Nakul Jaidevan miming different instruments and different strains of music fixed the locales, as also the spots that picked the characters in their asides and confessions.

The meticulously choreographed moves balanced the stage at all times. It was a worthwhile evening that raised hopes for entertainment in Chennai.

The lighting design, which was elegant and executed smoothly, can perhaps be faulted for its countless blackouts that jerked the audience in and out of the action once too often. It would have been perfectly acceptable to have had the spots come and go against breathing lights.

"ART" opened on September 18 and19 at The Park, and will be staged again at the Sivagami Pethachi auditorium in Alwarpet on September 26, 27 and 28.


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