Compiled and edited by Laxmi Chandrashekar, the solo play, depicts the status of women through the ages taking short episodes from mythology, folklore, literature and real life happenings. The characters are woven together into a narrative by a modern, urban, middle-class working woman, who struggles hard to cope with her numerous responsibilities as wife, mother and employee.
An adaptation of the novel ‘Singarevva mattu Aramane’ by Dr.Chandrasekhara Kambara, the play is a powerful depiction of the suffering of women in a feudal set up. The adaptation focuses on the women and speaks for them. The play is a unique attempt to explore the possibilities of converting the novel into a solo narrative using a variety of acting styles, techniques, colourful costumes, props and music.
‘Eddelu’ and ‘Medea’:
‘Eddelu’ and ‘Medea’ are two short plays based on monologues written by Nobel -laureate Dario Fo, and his actress-wife, Franca Rame. Both plays focus on the various implications of motherhood in the modern context. While ‘Eddelu’ , comic on the surface, revolves round a modern woman being burnt out trying to juggle all the responsibilities a modern society expects of her as wife, mother, employee and house keeper, ‘Medea’, is the feminist re-interpretation of Euripedes’s controversial play written over 2000 ago.
A rib-tickling comedy, based on well known humourist, T.Sunandamma’s articles, ‘Heegadre Hege?’ is scripted by Dr.K.Y. Narayana Swamy and directed by Pramod Shiggaon. The play, presents a few humourous episodes from the lives of an elderly, middle-class couple, played by noted television and theatre artistes, Sundar and Laxmi Chandrashekar. Gajanana Naik’s lilting tunes vocalized by M.D.Pallavi and group add to the flavour of the play.
‘Aadaddella Olithe…?’ / ‘All’s Well…’:
An entertaining and artistic comedy scripted by Sundar (translated into English by Laxmi Chandrashekar)and directed by Pramod Shiggaon, the play revolves round the antics of the elderly couple, Bhageerathi and Kapanipathi, whose children are grown up and live in distant cities. The squabble between the couple, hilarious situations created by mistaken identities and linguistic problems keep the audience guffawing throughout the play. Gajanana’s lovely tunes and Muddanna Shirahatti’s magical lighting enhance the humour of the play.
Scripted by Laxmi Chandrasehkar, ‘Ratnan Parpancha’ is a tribute to noted Kannada writer, G.P.Rajaratnam, on the occasion of his birth centenary . The play includes interesting anecdotes from the life and works of the author, some of his most popular songs and his most famous comedy, ‘Kambliseve’.
Based on the novel ‘Chakradrushti’ by well known Kannada humourist, Na.Kasturi, ‘Gundaayana’ ,designed and directed by Joseph, is a unique comedy in which the protagonist himself never appears on stage, but is spoken about by ten different characters, played by just two actors, Sundar and Laxmi Chandrashekar. While Na.Kasturi’s language, full of pun and wit, tickles your funny bones, the absurd caricatures he creates keep you grinning and guffawing throughout the play. With H.N.Bhaskar, a violinist of international repute, playing Gajanana Naik’s tunes, the play offers an extraordinary fusion of various sorts.
Kittalemane Kaveri is an adaptation of Singaporean writer Stella Kon’s Emily of Emerald Hill. Emily has come to be considered a seminal piece of Singaporean theatre. The play is a monologue chronicling the life of Kaveri, a member of the colourful and distinctive Coorg community, in Karnataka, through a series of entertaining and moving anecdotes. Shifting backward and forward through time, the play depicts her as a bewildered child-bride, a confident society hostess, a scheming matriarch and a grieving mother. Kaveri’s quest for affirmation, emotional security, a coherent sense of identity, and love, translates itself, within the course of her career in an oppressively patriarchal household, into an insatiable hunger for power. She pursues a domestic-emotional politics in which the need for self-validation becomes compromised by a concomitant negation of the needs and individualities of others. The oppressed and marginalized figure, in finding her centre, becomes the oppressor. In her attempt to control everyone and dictate their lives, she ends up losing her dear ones.
Set in Coastal Karnataka, during the independence movement and after, ‘Dustin Bayi’ revolves round the complex relationship of a Christian family with local rituals and belief in Spirit worship. When Anthony, a retired soldier comes to Bokkapatna and starts cultivating the land dedicated to a powerful spirit, the villagers expect him to die an instant death. But Anthony thrives there, gets married and develops close ties with the villagers. However, his mother’s sudden death, his wife Dustinbai’s miscarriage and his son, Intru’s waywardness are all attributed to the wrath of the spirit by the villagers who repeatedly ask him to perform a Kola to pacify it. Anthony refuses to pay heed, but Dustin is torn between her faith and her fear of the Spirit. When Intru ends up in prison for raping and murdering a girl, the pastor and a competent Christian lawyer help him get out and join the army, but Anthony who dies of a broken heart. Dustin continues to believe in her son even after continued betrayals, but her patience snaps when he comes to kill her grand-son and take his share of the money.
‘Sahebara Sarkeetu’ :
Sahebara Sarkeetu is a Kannada play based on M.R.Srinivasa Murthys book, Rangannana Kanasina Dinagalu, a hilarious account of the experiences of a village school inspector. The play revolves round Ranganna, a school-teacher promoted to the post of inspector. After visiting a number of schools in the interior parts of his range, Ranganna realizes that the inspectors job is no bed of roses as his friend had led him to believe. His measures to educate the teachers and improve the working of schools earns him the love of teachers and the wrath of local politicians.
The Lady minus Macbeth:
Lady Macbeth is, perhaps, one of the most ill-used characters in Shakespeare. Though Shakespeare , the writer, does manage to create some sympathy for her at the end of the play, the actor-producer in him had to please the audience. Her own husband for whose sake she commits all the crimes and sacrifices her peace of mind sheds no tears when she dies. For the rest she is the ‘demon queen’ who deserved the violent death.
This solo is an effort to look at the action of the play through Lady Macbeth’s eyes. It tries to depict Lady Macbeth as an intelligent, dynamic person who is confined to the domestic sphere. Being a woman, the only way she can fulfill her dreams and aspirations is through the husband. She has no existence apart from him. She does not even have a name. All she does is to help her husband fulfill his ambition. She goads him on to commit a crime which she knows he wants to, but doesn’t have the guts to. Once the deed is done and Macbeth has what he wants, she is left largely to herself. Macbeth no longer needs her. She is a lonely, friendless woman, haunted by guilt and a sense of emptiness. But being a loyal wife, she continues to defend him and keep his secret at the cost of her own sanity.
The solo is directed by well know theatre director, Chidambararao Jambe, who at present heads the National School of Drama Regional Resource Centre. He is assisted by Sahana , a fresh graduate from NSD.