The Hindu | It’s Ms. Meena, once more
A group of actors under flickering lights, rehearse their dialogues, occasionally breaking out into melodious song, their voices in perfect co-ordination. The seriousness with which the cast rehearse for Ms. Meena gives one an idea of why the play has had numerous successful runs for close to four years now. “Every time we have performed it, it’s been different. We’ve even had repeat audiences for this play,” says Karuna Amarnath, who plays the lead protagonist Ms. Meena. “There’s always something new that comes out of every staging,” agrees Ashiqa Salvan, another cast member. Written by Rashmi Ruth Devadasan and directed by Rajiv Krishnan, Ms. Meena is an original script, inspired by the Swiss-German playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt’s The Visit. Ms. Meena follows the life of Asha who returns to her village, Pichampuram two decades later as Ms. Meena, an iconic film star. Once shunned by the villagers of Pichampuram for claiming to be pregnant with her lover Ravi’s child, Ms. Meena returns to her village to make her final film. During the years she is away, Pichampuram spirals down to poverty. Ms. Meena promises to make the village prosperous, but at a terrible price.
Rajiv speaks of the most popular aspects of the production. “Cinema is a central theme. The play has worked because it is a complete entertainer.”
Every element of the play, from the music, to the sets, to the story, has been put together in a masterful way. But Rajiv gives credit primarily to the cast. “It all boils down to the actors. They have to sing, dance, play characters and work with props.”
Slight changes have been made to the production this time. “We changed a couple of roles, including the male lead. Ravi will be played by Sachin Gurjale. Anish Victor will play the MLA.” Sachin says that playing Ravi was interesting for the many hues and shades of the character. “Ravi is an anti-hero. He plays a defining moment in Asha’s life, but not in a good way,” says Sachin.
This time’s production aims to bring in a newer audience. “We also want to encourage people to come back and see it,” adds Rajiv.
Rajiv and his team have also reconfigured the play, considering Jagriti Theatre is a new space. “We have re-worked the composition, without changing the essence of the play.”
Ms. Meena, a Perch in association with Rafiki presentation, will be staged at Jagriti Theatre, as part of the 2013 Jagriti Season till October 6, except Mondays. The other cast members include, Anand Sami, Iswar Srikumar, Anushka Meenakshi, Ravindra Vijay and Anitha Santhanam. Tickets are available at www.bookmyshow.com and at the venue. Call 4124 2879.
Read as it appeared in The Hindu 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. 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.