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HIGHLIGHTING ISSUES: A scene from the play Ormakal Zindabad. - Photo: VipinChandran
HIGHLIGHTING ISSUES: A scene from the play Ormakal Zindabad. - Photo: VipinChandran

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The play, Oramakal Zindabad (Long Live Memories), staged at Fine Arts Hall on Tuesday, could be approached in two ways.

One, simply as a work of art and then, as an expression of a group of social activists.

The play was staged by Silence, in association with Grameena Vayanasala, Alinchuvadu.

New platform

The group is a new platform for social activists and the play was their first artistic venture.

"Our idea is to highlight all issues that are not given due coverage in mainstream. It could be political, environmental or gender issues," said C.R. Neelakantan, a leading social activist and member of Silence.

The strap line in the logo of the group says `lull before the storm,' giving an indication of the nature of activities to be taken up by the group.

"Silence is, in a way, the anti-thesis to the violence perpetrated by the State. It also means a forum for taking up issues that are forcibly silenced," he said.

The play matched the concept thematically, but failed in presentation.

Written and directed by G. Ajayan, the play attempted to link custodial deaths of Rajan during Emergency period and that of Udayakumar recently.

The director seemed bend on shocking the audience with the violence that the State forces on its subjects.

But, too much of imitations of violence on the stage and amateurish acting often created the opposite impact.

Also, the visual language that the director used for the play did not suit a full-fledged proscenium stage at the Fine Arts Hall.

Techniques like people entering from outside with burning torches only led to filling up the hall with smoke and failed to communicate the message.

Fine-tuning needed

At the end of about 90 minutes, only loud slogans and images of violence remain. Not the message.

"The play was just a beginning. We will be fine-tuning the art platform soon," said Mr. Neelakantan.

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