Dramas mark anniversary

SOCIAL FARE A sequence from `Maro Mohanjo Daro'.  


Unique techniques used for presentation.

Rasa Ranjani celebrated its 12th anniversary by staging two of its plays last week at their new venue Sri Thyagaraya Gana Sabha. The festival was inaugurated by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah. On the occasion, the minister felicitated Duggirala Someswara Rao, who played an important role of a revolutionary in the first production of an experimental play Maro Mohanjo Daro in 1996. The play, which was staged in the festival with a different cast. The play, staged on the first day of anniversary celebrations, is considered the landmark plays of Telugu theatre, for the way it introduced freezing technique of moving characters and innovative lighting. This gives the theme an abstract look, effectively thrusting the message that the present civilisation is doomedlike that of the earlier one at Mohenjo Daro, if the moral degradation in our society continues. Playwright Nandi created some representative characters of different strata of society. A professor of Anthropology is the Sutradhar behaving like the conscience of each of the characters. This role is impressively essayed by M. Francis who is also the director of the production. The other important characters are Bikshalu (Mutnuri Kameswara Rao) the servant of a millionaire Koteeswaraiah (K. Nataraj), Parandhamayya (B. Narayana), a middle class person who is also in the service of the industrialist Koteeswaraiah. Bhushan (`Mime' Madhu) is a revolutionary, while a doctor (M.V.K. Sarma) and a lawyer (S. Kameswara Sarma) are Koteeswaraiah's stooges. The play begins with the professor drawing a kind of family tree of different humans in different walks of life and explains who is who with social relevance. The rest of the drama shows how one situation leads to another ending with industrialist taking to gun and killing people for various reasons. He does not spare even his lawyer and doctor. The technique of the play was unique and is engaging with many twists. The character of the professor is everywhere. The small stage of Thygaraya Gana Sabha was adopted a new kind of imaginative stagecraft, enabling easy presentation. The dialogue has enough of light humor to provide relief, especially through the character of the professor, in examining and explaining the corrupt mind. Next day, the historical Pratapa Rudreeyam, written in 1897 by Vedam Venkataraya Sastry was staged. This is considered to be the first historical production on Telugu stage. The play relates the abduction of the king of Warangal Prataparudra and how he was rescued by his wise ministerYugandhara . B. Narayana, M. Francis, Burra Subrahmanya Sastry, Kramadhati V. Sarma, Mutnuri Kameswara Rao, Prabha, Ramaswamy and were part of the cast. Dr. M Nagabhushana Sarma directed it. This play was staged at the Ravindra Bharati.