Deccan Chronicle | Success and all its friends
Ms Meena is back in town! This immensely successful play. directed by Rajiv Krishnan and performed by Chennai-based theatre company, Perch, has been touring the country for four years now. It’s been over a year since Bengaluru saw it last and it de?nitely isn’t going to be the same. The play is being staged at Jagriti theatre. a ?rst for Krishnan and his troupe. With a new male lead, at that.
When Ms. Meena. an iconic tllm star, is slated to arrive in her hometown to make her final film, the small village from which she hails is beside itself with excitement. Ms. Meena has been away for 20 years, during which time her hometown has been reduced to shambles, with the villagers suffering from great hardship and dire poverty. Needless to say Ms Meena’s visit promises to be the event of a lifetime.
Ms. Meena brings with her promises of untold wealth, beyond the villagers‘ wildest dreams. Wealth and fame, however, always come with a heavy price. Based on The Visit, by Swiss playwright Freidrich Durrenmatt. Ms. Meena has been written by Rashmi Ruth Devadasan, drawing heavily from Chennai’s film-crazed audiences.
Ms Meena shows how an entire village sucumbs to the desire for success. When the actress tells the villagers that her final ?lm will be shot there and will most likely make the village a pilgrimage spot for ?lm-lovers. it is better than anything the villagers could have imagined. The only price is morality. “The villagers stand on their moral highground and say they cannot compromise their values because of this offer,” explained Krishnan.
Noble intentions are commendable, no doubt, but morality as the villagers soon discover, is the luxury of the deprived. Then again, this is cinema, it‘s absolutely irresisitble. “In India, cinema is just too powerful,” Krishnan remarked.
“This is the ?rst time we’re performing at Jagriti, which was a challenge,” said Krishnan. “That’s why we decided to push ourselves even more and change a couple of characters as well.” The play features a new male lead, he said.
Ms. Meena certainly had what it takes — unwavering ambition, ?erce determination and a knack for not letting her conscience trouble her. Moreover, the man the villagers choose to push their case with Ms Meena is Ravi, her former lover who is now a prominent shopkeeper. As the story progresses the line between what is real and what is only reel begins to blur, as the villagers abandon their morals and their ethics, to give way to their desires. Told with plenty of song and dance, the play makes a point with the most powerful weapon of all — laughter.
Ms. Meena is the second play in Jagriti’s new season, with eleven shows over the ten days.
Read as it appeared in Deccan Chronicle here.
Jagriti is a Performance Arts space dedicated to Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. Founded in 2011 by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, the space has hosted several productions from India and around the world. A 200-seat theatre, built around a full-thrust stage, it is fully equipped to cater to both artistes and audience. The main stage is designed for intimate performances, with adjoining spaces for informal lectures and gatherings, and an attached restaurant- 'The Fat Chef'. Jagriti is owned and operated by the not-for-profit ART Foundation, a registered charitable trust.
The Rooftop - above the main auditorium is an open-to-sky space with a staging area that can accommodate about 50 people. A raised and walled off platform can work as a perfect area for puppet theatre. The Rooftop has a restroom and a pantry.
The Terrace - alongside the auditorium, the Terrace can accommodate about 20 people as an informal gathering area.
Lumbini - extending out from the foyer, Lumbini has a stage and an open-to-sky terraced space for about 80 people.