Theatre

A story well told

On a fanciful flight: Kira Kozhambu performers on stage. Photo: Special Arrangement

On a fanciful flight: Kira Kozhambu performers on stage. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Kira Kozhambu staged by Perch, Chennai, takes the audience on a wild journey through a kaleidoscope of stories

Kira Kozhambu, a script based on the folk tales of legendary Ki. Rajanarayanan, required just three actors and a wooden bench. The play, staged by Perch, Chennai in association with Nija Nataka Iyakkam at the Maniammai School, held the audience in rapt attention for an hour successfully breaking the concept of fourth wall.

Held in a street theatre format, the play began with the song and dance. After a brief self introduction and also about the writer, the performers asked the audience about different ways of beginning a story. Even as suggestions flowed from all corners, the actors gradually slipped into the script introducing the ever-lasting love story between the sky and the earth and how sun and moon were born out of their love.

“The speakers hung on the sidewalls are just cosmetic. Our voices are strong enough to reach the last person sitting here,” said Ravindra Vijay, one of the performers. Anand Sami, another actor, full of awe said how the sky was only three feet away from the earth, years ago. “People could not stand erect. Giraffes crawled and trees were no taller than shrubs. Modern day ‘paravai’ (bird) was then called ‘tharavai’, as they moved on the ground,” he said.

The story is set in the Gopalapuram Village. From the sun, frog, giraffe, tree, singer, hen, stick to Garuda (eagle), the actors morphed into several characters. Dressed in bright costumes the storytellers had the audience in splits while narrating how birds got their wings and how mocha kottai (field beans) got its white mark.

“The play was first staged in 2010. Perch revived it recently for Ki.Ra.’s 95th birthday. In fact, Ki. Ra. wanted us to do it again. It was his birthday wish. We have tried to make a kozhambu out of the eclectic mix of stories. Hope this kozhambu tastes good,” says Ravindra Vijay. “We picked stories from the writer’s Naatupura Kathai Kazhanjiyam. The script is also based on the genesis stories,” he says.

Kira Kozhambu is one of the popular plays of Perch. As story telling is an oral tradition it takes a different dimension each time it is told. “We had two weeks of rehearsals and we grow with each performance. We also introduce dialogues to suit the audience for whom we are performing,” he says.

The play was directed by Rajiv Krishnan, the artistic director of Perch. Though the drama might look like entertaining children, it has something for everyone. There is also an element of satire when the performers play around with the dialogues highlighting the issue of aadhar card and cooking beef curry.

Actors Anand Sami, Maya S. Krishnan and Ravindra Vijay were in their elements with their seamless blend of art and entertainment.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 9:22:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/kira-kozhambu-staged-by-perch-chennai-takes-the-audience-on-a-wild-journey-through-a-kaleidoscope-of-stories/article23694966.ece

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