Green concerns get a national stage

A scene from ‘Chuvanna Thatha,’ a theatre initiative of schoolchildren in Palakkad against environmental degradation. Photo: K.K. Mustafah  

It was by chance theatre activist Kannan Palakkad went through a Malayalam translation of techie-turned writer Vasudhendra’s Kannada short story Red Parrot .

The story revolves around the ill effects of indiscriminate mining in north Karnataka.

The protagonist of the story, who gets to see a flock of parrots soaked in thick layers of mining dust, remembers a fable told by his sister in his childhood.

“Akkaa, today I saw the red parrots. They don’t look like bunches of hibiscus falling from the tree but pieces of raw meat, peeled off and hanging in the shop,” he says after seeing the birds.

“Moved by the story translated by A.K. Riyas, I shared it with school students who attended a summer theatre camp in Palakkad last year under the aegis of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. With 25 students expressing their readiness to join me in a theatre experiment of the story, the drama Chuvvanna Thatha took shape,” Kannan says.

After several venues across Kerala, the team is planning shows at the national level to convey the need of environmental protection and an end to plunder of natural resources.

It has won an invite to perform at a theatre festival in Delhi next week at the National School of Drama. The drama will be staged at festivals in Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Guwahati.

“Vasudhendra is getting popular among Kannada readers.

It was the first theatre adaptation of his work in Malayalam. The drama involves a great deal of humanistic concern, which makes the viewer look within. The positive affirmation that life should go on remains the strength of this drama,” said Kannan.

The students acting in the drama are aged between six and 17. Suresh Gopika Arts, Rahman Kongad, Najmuddin, Baby Wadakkanchery, Jayanarayanan, and Krishnankutty are providing technical and background support to the team.

The team is being coordinated by the Palakkad-based theatre group Navarang.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 10:28:14 AM |

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