Theatre Surabhi theatre group captivated audience at a recent four-day Surabhi Natakotsavam. Velcheti Subrahmanyam

Surabhi-the very word spells magic for theatre buffs. No matter, mythology or folklore fantasy whatever the theme of the play, it bears an indelible mark of Surabhi that captivates the theatre buffs. So did a four-day Surabhi natakotsvam at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam. Artistes of Hyderabad-based Sri Venkateswara Natya Mandali (Surabhi) staged Maya Bazar, Bhaktha Prahalada and Pathala Bhairavi in their inimitable style that drew full house for all the sessions. It was such a big draw that the audience was found standing in the aisles to see the performances all through its duration of about two-and-half hours in each session. Renowned theatre forum Rangasai of Badamgir Sai hosted it in such a grand scale that the venue wore a festive look.

The fest began with the play Maya Bazar - about a mythological episode of Abhimanyu winning the hand of Sashirekha with the help of Ghatotkacha. Though not found in the original text of Mahabharath, taken from the Marathi folk lore, the episode was immortalised both on celluloid and on stage and Surabhi troupe mastered it in its theatrical excellence. The play opened with sage Narada descending on to the earth and what followed was truly a visual treat. Scenes like Ghatothkacha waking up from deep slumber, his unwitting fight with Abhimanyu and quandary of Kauravas in Maya Bazar kept the viewers in thrall. The scene of light and shade effects for Uttara’s serenading Abhimanyu in pangs of estrangement was the highlight.

With period costumes, brilliant stage props, commendable light and shade techniques and aesthetically rich curtains and backdrops, it looked as if it brought out a slice of mythology on to the stage. The way the troupe of more than seventy artistes staged it with ease and exemplary team spirit is typical of Surabhi’s professionalism.

Surabhi’s theatrical expertise was reflective in other plays too like Pathala Bhairavi and Bhaktha Prahalada .

On this occasion the organisers felicitated head of the Surabhi troupe R. Nageswara Rao (Babji) who was recently awarded Padma Shri in recognition of his service to the cause of theatre.

The play opened with sage Narada descending to the earth and what followed was truly a visual treat