Two plays show theatre is an apt medium to portray women and their issues

Two plays, presented here as part of the ongoing National Theatre Festival of Kerala, sparked a discussion on how theatre as a medium helps bring to the fore the subtle issues that women face when their individualities are tuned to exist with social norms.

‘Etho Chirakadiyochakal’, directed by Sam George, is about the spectrum of emotions that Kunthi lives with, being mother of Pandavas and of Karna, whom she abandoned in her early youth.

The attempt was to delineate the issues being faced by women in modern society through the portrayal of Kunthi, Mr. George said. His presentation of Kunthi’s memories and feelings as a solo act supported by shadow puppetry in the play was an experiment, he said, adding theatre activism gave a lot of satisfaction.

The play, written by G. Sankara Pillai, begins with Kunthi hearing the sound of the fluttering wings of an unseen bird after she blesses the Pandavas before the battle of Kurukshetra.

The haunting sound, she had been hearing since she abandoned Karna, is for her a sound of helplessness and dilemma.

Shylaja P. Ambu plays the role of Kunthi, and feels her performance on stage itself was a message. To her, the role of an artiste is no less than that of a social worker.

‘Patni ka Patra’, the second play that was part of the discussion, is a one-woman theatre performance based on Rabindranath Tagore’s short story. Savitha Kundra and Bolo Ramdas, actors of the play, said it was well received by the audience.

The play was directed by Geetha Guha, and is about a woman, Mrinal, who is writing a letter to her husband after 15 years of their marriage. She was going to pilgrimage in order to leave married life where she did not get respect as human being.

A solo performance, though difficult, was a fulfilling experience for the artiste, they said.

The theatre fest is being organised by the Information and Public Relations Department.

Two plays show theatre is an apt medium to portray women and their issues.