Freedom of artistes makes a compelling story at the theatre festival of Kerala

The Last Song, a play by well-known Norwegian actor and director Lars Oyno attracted a lot of attention at the ongoing International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) because of its theme — the freedom of an artiste and hurdles to get recognition.

Based on the life and times of the Uruguayan-born French poet, Comte de LautrÃamont (1846-70), who died in a tiny hotel room in Paris in obscurity before becoming a cult figure for the Surrealist Poetry, the play was noted for the portrayal of the poet as an emotional man. The play was a theatrical exploration of the meaning of existence.

“It’s a fictional account about the poet’s life and what I wanted to convey was awards and other recognitions are not the criterion for greatness. True talent will survive,” said the director while addressing the face-to-face session on Saturday.

Mr. Oyno said he got inspired by the Indian traditional art forms and he found Yakshagana beautiful.

“The most important thing in theatre is to convey a story and share your emotions with others. We use this form of art to speak about the life,” said Ana Pepine and Paul Cimporelu, the theatre activist duo from Romania, whose play “Two of Us” was staged on Friday.

They said they were influenced by all the classical art forms in the world.

Sunil Shanbagh, an eminent theatre personality from Maharashtra, said through his play, S*x, M*rality & Cens*rship, he tried to speak about the continuing problems of censorship that all artistes has to face.

“It’s a protest against censorship and I had to use the language in a sort of way as an instrument to get my point,” said the director in reply to an observer who said the language was “cerebral”.

Shyju Anthikkad, whose play Oru Desam Nuna Parayunnathu was staged on Friday, said the incursions of establishment into the freedom of an artiste is a threat. But at the same time, it works as a catalyst to speak out against it, he said.

Andrea Cusumano, a director from CesDac, London, Dr. M. V. Narayanan, architect Lijo Jose and Malayalam theatre personality Sujathan spoke about the concept of space in theatre in seminar session held here.

Discussions on the importance of creating a space in drama, the relationship between drama and architecture and the need for changes in Malayalam theatre were raised. “In drama the most important aspect is the way you are viewing. It’s like you are having different meanings about the same play,” said Dr. M.V. Narayanan about the perception of watching a drama.

“The space is related to the actor who performs to the audience,” said Mr. Andrea Cusumano about the importance of actors in creating space.