Swords and sandals galore in stage epic

A scene from Gladiator staged by students of Bishop Heber College in Tiruchi.

A scene from Gladiator staged by students of Bishop Heber College in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A student production of Gladiator, an adaptation of Hollywood filmmaker Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning film of the same name (released in 2000), brought much cheer to the audience at Bishop Heber College on Thursday.

Organised by the Department of English, featuring all the 90 students of the UG and PG streams as cast and crew, the mini ‘swords-and-sandals’ epic was scripted for stage in Shakepearean overtones by alumnus P. Arun Sachin, who also played the role of Commodus, the villainous heir of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

The star of the evening was S. Sabareesh who played Hispano-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius. He was ably supported by Ritzy Wonderbell as Lucilla, Sam Santhosh as Proximo and J. Prakash Bablu as Juba.

The students had been rehearsing the play since November, with the help of the Heberian Innovation Grooming Hub (HIGH) and faculty trainers P. Suresh Kumar and A. Benedict Paul.

As in the film, the story is set in 180 AD, and follows the fortunes of Maximus, who is favoured by Marcus Aurelius over his son Commodus to be his regent in Rome. Angered by this, Commodus murders his father and tries to get the general to declare his allegiance to him. When Maximus refuses, he is arrested and his family crucified.

On the run and reduced to the status of a gladiator, fighting gory matches for public entertainment, Maximus finally gains the opportunity to confront Commodus in Rome. The play showed the progress of the protagonist from a dextrous fighter to a martyr for the cause of justice and loyalty.

The two-hour show got a rousing reception from the audience. Many added to the ambience of the gladiator’s arena by loudly yelling and applauding for the characters, especially during the well-choreographed fight scenes.

The play was directed by P. Brian Patrick, G.T. Nila, Arun Sachin, Sabareesh and J. Prakash Bablu. Art direction was by B. Evangeline, H. Sushma, N.R. Jemi Nesha, K. Catherine and J. Jenelin. They had created a regal ambience of a Roman setting to the hall.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 6:06:20 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/swords-and-sandals-galore-in-stage-epic/article65387949.ece