Theatre

Tushara Nambiar’s solo act in ‘Kara’

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Prashanth Narayanan’s play, which explores issues faced by women, will be staged at Ganesham on Saturday

As Nangeli, a washerwoman in the solo Kara, theatre actor Tushara Nambiar found that she was able to respond to all the many woman-centric issues that vex her. So she turned to its director and playwright Prashanth Narayanan to stage the play once more as she wanted to reach out to people and make them aware of the dangers of walking backwards into the dark ages of obscurantism and orthodoxy.

“I don’t have to act. Every woman would know what I am talking about on stage,” she feels.

The 29-year-old from Iritty in Kannur says she breathes easy when she is on the stage. A colleague acting with her in a couple of episodes of Marimayam on Mazhavil Manorama suggested her name when Soorya Krishnamoorthy was looking around for a female actor to play the lead in Deergha Chathuram, scripted and directed by him. “I appeared for the auditions and got selected. I played the heroine in the play that was premiered in 2014. It gave me a superb understanding of the stage and theatre and I acted in about 30 to 35 performances of the play in many places,” she recollects.

Although she began by acting in plays and dramas in her home town, she feels she came into her own after her act in Deergha Chathuram.

The stage and some fine directors have been her school of drama and she picked up the nuances of acting through trial and error.

Once she returned to Kannur, she became impatient to play a role of substance again and that was when a friend advised her to get in touch with Prashant. Once the director gave her the green signal, she was cast in Kara but only after two long years of preparation. Tushara recalls how the director was able to help her get into the skin of Nangeli by getting her to empathise with the different situations that women are forced to cope with daily. “Gradually, the metamorphosis happened and I was able to become Nangeli,” she says.

Then came Charithra Pusthakathilekkoredu, in which she essayed multiple roles.

“That play was a huge hit and it was staged all over Kerala and in many theatre festivals as well,” adds Tushara.

As she gushes about the play, she asserts that nothing, not even cinema, gives her the same high as working in theatre. She should know as she has just finished acting in three films — Panthu, Thami, Nirangal Thudaan Varu, all directed by newcomers.

“The energy I get is unbeatable while acting in a play. I feel that that is when a person is able to get rid of his/her ego and become humane,” she avers.

Director’s take

Veteran theatre person Prashanth Narayanan emphasises that Kara, which was premiered about five years ago in Kochi, is for every woman living in modern Kerala. Flush from the success of his play Mahasagaram, Prashanth says that theatre is witnessing a rejuvenation thanks to patrons, practitioners and viewers who are experimenting with the stage and themes to deal with relevant issues.

He explains: “Kara deals with the different issues that a woman in Kerala faces during her life. By blending folklore, myth and current topics, I deal with the theme in a creative way. I was particular that it should not be perceived as a piece for any kind of propaganda or sloganeering.”

Nangeli, a washerwoman from the Mannathi community, is mysteriously found drowned in a well where she used to wash clothes. The incident occurs after she turned down the advances of a feudal lord. However, a few days later, Nangeli resurfaces and she is forever busy cleaning the stains from the clothes of women —right from the age of six months onwards.

“This is my response to all the violence, verbal, physical and cyber that women are subjected to,” he adds.

‘Kara’ with Tushara in the lead will be staged today at 6.30 pm, at Ganesham, Thycaud. Contact: 8593033111

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 8:02:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/prashanth-narayanans-play-kara-which-explores-issues-faced-by-women-has-tushara-nambiar-doing-a-solo-act/article26027008.ece

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