Folktales by Ki.Rajanarayanan: Of sky, birds and pacha mochai

Kira Kuzhambu served up a dramatic feast of Ki. Rajanarayanan’s stories

November 20, 2017 04:30 pm | Updated November 21, 2017 06:25 pm IST

Stories and more. The artistes performing Kira Kozhambu.

Stories and more. The artistes performing Kira Kozhambu.

The stage was softly lit. The organises ran around, bringing in more chairs to accommodate the growing crowd who were there for Kira Kuzhambu , a performance based on the folktales by Ki.Rajanarayanan (Ki.Ra). It was organised by Perch in association with Udalveli at @641.

The play started after a brief introduction of the writer Ki.Ra by Dharanidharan of Udalveli. The artists, Anand Sami, Ravindra Vijay and Kalieaswari Srinivasan, entered the stage singing ‘Po po pom po po pom poom ... Dressed in bright colours, they introduced themselves. “We took stories of Ki. Rajanarayan, put it in a chatty , added songs, dance and our creativity to make this kuzhambu that we are performing today.” They asked the audience if they could tell them of different ways of starting a story. “Once up on a time, there lived a king”, shouted someone from the audience; “There was an old fort,” called out another. The suggestions went on.

After hearing the audience out, the play began. It was a love story of the sky and the earth. “Years ago, the sky was only three feet away from the earth. Giraffes crawled and trees were no higher than shrubs. Birds were called tharava , as they moved on the ground.”

The sun and the moon were born out of the love between the sky and the earth. “Both of them were very naughty. None of the humans was brave enough to stop them, other than a paati , who sold idlis for a living. Tired of their antics she beat them and sent them up. Mother sky went up looking for them and all the cotton balls on earth went up with the sky, to form clouds. This is how the sky is up now.”

The storytellers continued to regale the audience about how birds got their wings, how the Gods once wanted to eat parotta and sent garuda down to earth to get it, and how the pacha mochai got a white mark on it. The audience was hooked and sometimes sang along with the performers who effortlessly impersonated the sun, frog, giraffe, tree, singer, hen, eagle, stick and other characters in their stories. The stories were all set in Gopallapuram village and the folklore was sewn together with dance and music. The audience lapped up the hour-long performance with appreciative whistles and applause.

Vijay said, “Ki. Ra has given us permission to use our creativity in his stories. He is like a grandfather who loves telling stories. This performance is to celebrate his 95th birthday.” The play was directed by Rajiv Krishnan, the artistic director of Perch. “It took us 13 days of practice for this play,” said Sami. When asked about the number of stories that went to the play said, “We don’t exactly know. A lot of mixing and matching is done here.” Srinivasan added, “It is a platform for the audience to discover the child in them.”

They are open to perform in the city. For details call: 9986371543

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