LIFE

A Kannada play in English

DRAMA CANNOT be restricted to one language. The success of translated plays across the world has proved it beyond doubt. Following the same tradition, Top Cast, a Bangalore-based English theatre group, and Snehaloka are all set to stage Jokumaraswami, a play in English originally written in Kannada by Chandrashekar Kambar.

The play, translated into English by Rajiv Taranath, will be staged at Guru Nanak Bhavan, Vasanthnagar, on July 1, 2, and 3, at 7 p.m. Check out K.C. Das, St. Mark's Road; Javacity outlets, Calypso; and Caf� Paradis, Alliance Francaise for tickets.

The play depicts a blend of fantasy and superstition. The pivot of the play is Jokumaraswami, a phallic god of fertility worshipped even now in Karnataka. The play is based on one of the many myths of Jokumaraswami, the son of Shiva, who takes birth on earth as the son of Ditnadevi. From the second day after his birth till the sixth, he seduces all the women of the village. On the seventh day, the angry men of the village kill him. It is believed that wherever his blood falls, the earth turns green and fertile. Jokumaraswami is represented as Basanna, a fearless peasant who stands up to the powerful Gowda of the village, reliving the myth of this god as the protagonist of the play.

Started in 2000, Top Cast has enacted Mahesh Dattani's Tara and Where There is a Will, Vijay Tendulkar's Silence! The Court is in Session, Girish Karnad's Hayavadana and Nagamandal, Albert Camus's Just Assassins, and Eric Chappel's Theft. Here's what the director, N. Ravi Kumar, has to say about Jokumaraswami: "Besides the rustic nature of the play, Jokumaraswami carries a very pertinent message. The play highlights strong feminist ideals, which in my opinion is the mantra of the present generation. The women in the play exhibit free will in thought and action; their attitudes portray a strong sense of independence and these are the factors most youngsters seek to acquire in our society."

By R.K.

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