Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kaali Naadakam at Bahuroopi Fest Mysore and Shimoga

Kaali Nadakam in invited to the Bahurupi National Theatre Festival by Rangayana my sore held in January and also to the Rangayana Festival at Shimoga. The play is performed on Jan 17 at Vanaranga Mysore and on 18th at Rangayama Theatre Shimoga.
These were the 14th and 15th shows of Kaali Naadakam
This is the 326th show of the play.
The artists travelling to Mysore and Shimoga to perform the play are Sajitha Matathil, Zumesh Chittooran, VR Selvaraj, Jayachandran Thakazhikkaran, Gopan mangadu, Sudhi Panoor, Aji Thiruvankulam, Anugraha Paul, Chathuri Mohan, Manoj Bhanu, Nazarudheen Valiyaveettil, Vishnu K Nair, Priya Sreejith, Sajeev Roy, Kalamandalam Sarath V, Akhila Nath, Kalamandalam Vaisakh, Antoney Peter, Jolly Antony, Sreejit P, Shobha Menon, Shaji Joseph, and Chandradasan
The review of the play in Times of India is attached below
‘Kali Natakam’ is a blend of realism and mythology
Times News Network | Jan 18, 2018, 05:30 IST
Mysuru: 'Kali Natakam', a play staged by Lokadharmi of Kochi on Wednesday raised contemporary issues such as rape, women empowerment and caste discrimination.
With layers of mythology and realism, 'Kali Natakam' mesmerized the audience at the Vanaranga of Rangayana.
Based on folk stories of goddess Kali and demon Darika, the play featured issues haunting the society.
Director of the play Chandradasan told TOI, "It is our second visit to Bahuroopi. In the year 2012, we had staged a play 'Karnabharanam' at Vanaranga. Mysuru has always given a great response to our plays. It is interesting and challenging to stage plays here. Bahuroopi received positive audience. Unlike other theatre festivals, Bahuroopi in Mysuru is well organised. Even though different activities are held on the premises, they make sure the programmes don't coincide. It is a great privilege to be a part of this theatre festival."
The play is written by Sajitha Madattil, who happened to play the protagonist of 'Kali Natakam'. Over 18 artistes staged the hour-long play.
"Women empowerment is the major concern of the play. It raises question as to what is the definition of women empowerment and what women are supposed to do once they are empowered. 'Kali Natakam' is trying to understand realism with the help of mythological characters," Chandradasan added.
With a touch of Mudiyettu, Theyyam and Kaliyattam, traditional art forms of Kerala, 'Kali Natakam' comes out as a complete package.
- Akshatha J

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Workshop on Physical Skills, Acrobatics, Non-verbal Acting, Clowning and Juggling with Mandragora Circo, Theatre Group from Argentina.

Workshop on Physical Skills, Acrobatics, Non-verbal Acting, Clowning and Juggling with Mandragora Circo, Theatre Group from Argentina. The workshop is targeting dancers, actors and other performers. All levels are welcome. It is NOT necessary to have any kind of previous experience.
 The workshop will focus on the techniques of acrobatics, posture of the body to develop arm balances, handstand and partner acrobatics, clowning and juggling.
Age limit – above 14 yearsDate 26 and 27th of January 2018- 10 am to 4.00 pm with one hour break for lunch.
Venue – Lokadharmi Nadakaveedu Nayarambalam Vypin, Kochi
Fee- Rs 2000 inclusive of food.
Admission limited to a maximum of 20 participants.
For booking seats contact – 8921436443, 9447414200, or 9447221113 (Registration on first come first serve basis)

The independent theatre group Mandragora Circo from Argentina is a renowned theatre group widely travelling and performing all over the world. For the past 8 years they have travelled, did workshops and performed, throughout the continents of the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia in over 42 countries, - traveling, country to country presenting this wordless performance non - stop.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

CCRT Scholarship to Niranjana Kishan

Congratulations to Niranjana Kishan who is selected for the CCRT Scholarship for drama/theatre from the department of Culture, Govt of India. She has been getting her training in theatre from Mazhavillu, the children’s theatre wing of Lokadharmi for about six years. She has acted in the plays Thathamaram and Pattangal Parakkumpol and also particpiated in many workshops. She has performed in Jashne Bachpan, the National Children’s theatre Festival organised by NSD New Delhi, Navarang Theatre Festival Palakkadu, IPTA Festival etc and also in various other venues. She is also interested in reading and writing and has published few articles. Niranjana is one of the ninteen children, selected for CCRT scholarship in theatre from all over India, and the only one from Kerala. She won thisscholarship to continue her training in theatre at Lokadharmi under theguidance of Chandradasan
With this Scholarship Niranjana is joining the band of Lokadharmi actors, Priyaraj Govindraj G, Sreeraj Rajan, Aarjith BabuNamitha NambiarAparna AjayGovind Nambiar, Sreeparvathi Prasad, Gouri Krishna, Jeyasuriyaa Mangayil, Gouri Murali, and Nandabala who had won the scholarship earlier ...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Karnnabharam in the National Theatre Festival of Classical Indian Plays at Sangli Maharashtra

A festival of Classical Indian plays will be held at Sangli, Maharashtra from 26th Dec to 30thDec 2017. Five different productions in Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Marathi will be staged by groups from Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh. The festival takes place in Vishnudas Bhave Natyamandir The festival is organised by NSD New Delhi.
The play Karnnabharam by Lokadharmi will be performed on the 26th Dec
The plays in the festival are
26th Dec - MOHE PIYA (Hindi) by Bhasa – Rangapeed Mumbai - dir. Waman Kendre

Mohe Piya is an adaptation of the play Madhyama Vyayoga by Bhasa deals with the encounter between Ghatolkacha and a family of a Brahmin – father, mother and three sons – passing through a dense forest. Ghatothkach is in search of a human as food for his mother, Hidimba to break her fast. He wants one of the male members of the Brahmin family to offer himself for this purpose. As the eldest son is close to the father and the youngest is dear to the mother, the middle son – Madhyama – offers himself for the food of Hidimba. With the permission of Ghatothkach, Madhyama goes to a nearby river to bathe before his death, but he takes a long time to return. Ghatothkach shouts, “Oh Madhyama ‘and hearing this Bhīma, the Madhyama son of Kunthi and Pandu, appears on the scene. The Brahmin’s middle son is spared. After a fierce contest of prowess between Bhīma and Ghatothkach, Bhīma voluntarily surrenders to him to become the food for Hidimba. On reaching, Hidimba and Bhīma recognise one another. She tells Ghatothkach that Bhīma is his father. Bhasa’s play ends with the happy reunion of the son, the mother and father. Kendre’s play transforms this happy reunion as a point to recreate conflict.
Then the action shifts to the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In a subtle way, the director has shown the Pandavas’ utter indifference towards Ghatothkach; when Ghatothkach is killed, there is no Pandava including his father Bhīma to grieve over his death. Only Hidimba comes, lamenting bitterly. It is a bitter comment on the Pandavas who have used Ghatothkach
Both mother and son question the criminal neglect of Bhīma of Hidimba whom he married with the consent of his mother, Kunthi when the Pandavas were in exile. The conflict ensues between the ethical values of Aryans and non-Aryans through the interactions of a father, mother and son is brought forth effectively.The play brings forth the indifference faced by Hidimba and Ghatolkacha from the Pandavas. Waman Kendre, the director of NSD, recreates and reinterpret the text of Bhasa to reflect and ponder on contemporary reality than recreating the story of the epic as such. It is this contemporary sensibility that attracts and binds the audience to this production.
Stage design, vibrant energetic acting, Music and choreography, and costumes designed with a tribal ethos give this production an artistic totality.
27th Dec - KARNNABHARAM (Malayalam) by Bhasa,– Lokadharmi Kochi - dir. Chandradasan

KARNNABHARAM (The anguish of Karnna), The Malayalam adaptation of the Sanskrit Classic Performed by Lokadharmi Kochi Kerala is based on the translation into Malayalam by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. The Music is scored by Bijibal, Lighting by Gireesh Menon, and the Design & Direction is done by Chandradasan.
This play has won the prestigious awards for Best play, best stage design & best costume design from Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards 2008. Also nominated for best Actor, best Ensemble and best Choreography in the festival
The first production was in 1992 and it was performed on many stages. Chandradasan has based the work on the Malayalam translation by veteran theatre person Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. "I think this production of `Karnnabharam' is significant as a contemporary adaptation/trans creation of Bhasa's text at many levels," he says. Chandradasan has used elements of the traditional art forms such as Koodiyattam, Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, Padayani, Sopanasageetham, etc., as part of the search for an indigenous Indian theatre idiom.
Lokadharmi had performed Karnnabharam widely all over in India including Ujjain and Indore (Madhya Pradesh). Jodhpur Rajasthan, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Vijayanagaram in Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata (Bengal), Kunthapura, Mysore, Bengaluru and Gulbarga, (Karnataka), Jagdalpur (Chatisgad), Cuttack (Orissa), Patna (Bihar), New Delhi, and Kurukshetra (Haryana).
This is the 326th show of the play.
The artists travelling to Sangli to perform the play are Sudheer Babu, VR Selvaraj, Jolly Antony, Zumesh Chittooran, Ajikumar Thiruvankalam, Sanosh Palluruthy, Jebin Jesmes, Girish Menon, Sreedeep KS, Ferha Aziz, Pradeep Srinivasan, Sijin Sukumar, Santhosh Piravam, Sarath VS, Sarath KP, Shaji Joseph, and Chandradasan
28th Dec - SAKUNTALAM (Sanskrit) by Kalidasa, – Sopanam Thiruvananthapuram - dir. Kavalam Narayana Panikkar

This is the adaptation of the epic play by Kalidasa directed by late Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, the master of Indian Theatre who embellished the indigenous system of performance based on the tradition of the land giving new impetus to the enactment of Sanskrit plays.
The play opened with a deer running for her life from a tiger, only to confront Dushyantha, who is there on a hunting trip. The doe makes her way into the hermitage of Sage Kanva. Listening to the advice of young sages there, the king withdraws his arrow. It is there that he hears about Shakuntala, agrees to be their guest and surreptitiously watches Shakuntala watering the garden along with her friends and falls for her.
Kavalam’s version, concludes with portions from act VI of Kalidasa’s original play. The final act, where Dushyantha meets Shakuntala along with his son Bharata and their reunion, is not included in this version.
The original play by Kalidasa itself revolves around this theme and the character of Shakuntala is often considered as a synonym of Nature in all its purity. Thus, Dushyantha, the one who hunts and rule, becomes a representative of mankind, exploiting Nature and forgetting to acknowledge his deeds! It requires a reminder now and then to emphasise that duty and it is there that the play becomes relevant even today.
Gireeshan V. a seasoned actor and this year’s Sangeet Natak Akademi award winner plays the role of King Dushyantha along with the seasoned artists of Sopanam. 
29th Dec - HASYA CHOODAMANI (Hindi) by Mahamati Vatsaraj, – Vihan Bhopal - dir. Sourabh Ananth

This is a comedy, written in the 12th century, in which people were given a message to avoid the hypocrite monks. In the play a monk named Janarashi fools the common people with the teachings of their magic. Rashi comes in a town with his disciples, where he falls in love with a girl named Madan Sundari. To get her, the monk does magic, witchcraft, but in his talisman, Madan writes the name of his mother instead of writing Sundari's name. Because of which Madan gets attracted to his mother's sadhu instead of Sundari, and this is where the comedy drama takes a new turn. 
Bundeli Touch also gets along well with the Hindi language in the play. 
The translation of the drama in Hindi language was done by Sangeeta Gundeka. The drama uses live music, directed by Hemant Devlekar.
30th Dec - EKA GURAKHYACHE MAHAKAVYA (Marathi) by Mayur Deval, – Aneeha Productions Dombivali - dir. Prasad bhide 

This play on the life and creative work of Kalidasa uses dance and music as its idiom of expression.
The story of Kalidasa is a classic in itself - a family classic with wholesome entertainment and education for all. With the romance and tragedy - adults will enjoy the sublime narrative, children who will have a miraculous historical personality which is fun, youth who will take pleasure in telling the world that Kalidasa was not some rishi/muni who lived on a mountain writing in Sanskrit, but a regular guy just like them. The story has a strong cultural basis, the subject constantly marvelled by historians and scholars and a very plausible social phenomenon
The play has been the winner (Best play, writer, director, lights, set, makeup, music, actor, and actress) of Maharashtra Govt's 52nd Haushi Rajya Natya Spardha and a multi nominations achiever at Zee Gaurav Puraskar 2014.
Has also been the achiever of prestigious Ram Ganesh Gadkari Award.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Usha Ganguly @Lokadharmi 10.00 am 5th Nov 2017

Usha Ganguly (born 1945) is an Indian theatre director-actor and activist, and founder of Rangakarmee theatre group Kolkata, visits Lokadharmi. She will be interacting with the artists and acting students of Lokadharmi at 10.00 am on 5th Nov 2017, on various issues on contemporary theatre, acting in theatre, her process and approach to theatre etc.
She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction, given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, and Dance & Drama in 1998.[6] She has also been honoured by the West Bengal Government as the best actress for the play Gudia Ghar.[
She started her career as a Hindi Lecturer at Bhowanipur Education Society College, till her retirement in 2008 and practised theatre alongside.[9]
Initially since was trained as a dancer, and started acting in plays like Gudia Ghar based on Ibsen’s Dolls House. She started directing in the 1980s and soon her energetic style and disciplined ensemble work with young, large casts brought a resurgence of Hindi theatre in the city. Her important productions include Mahabhoj (Great Feast) Lokkatha (Folktale), Holi Rudal, Himmat Mai, an adaptation of Brecht's Mother Courage and Court Marital written by Swadesh Deepak.
She has written a play Kashinama, based on a story, from the Kashinath Singh's classic work, Kashi Ka Assi and an original play Khoj. She also worked on the script of Raincoat a Hindi film based on O Henry's The Gift of the Magi, directed by Rituparno Ghosh.
Her plays were performed all over India and in all major theatre festivals including Bharangam and ITFoK, and also at the Theatre der Welt Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, "Punj Pani Festival" at Lahore Pakistan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A three day workshop on Gender and Theatre - As part of the Fulbright Alumni Award 2017 to Chandradasan - Sponsored by USIEF and Lokadharmi

A three day workshop on ‘Gender and Theatre’ was held at Nadakaveedu, Nayarambalam Kochi, as part of the Fulbright Alumni award 2017 awarded to Chandradasan, from 22nd to 24th of September, 2017. The workshop is sponsored by USIEF and Lokadharmi Kochi. The interactive and informal round table sessions of the workshop were inspiring with the participation of renowned personalities from various walks of life.
The purpose of the workshop was to introspect and share ideas and experiences related to gender equality in performance arts especially theatre. The workshop ruminates gender insensitivity as a multi-dimensional universal issue: all workspace performance could be related to theater performance; therefore it took a rather cognitive stand, so that the effort taken is percolated in nature and would trespass time.
Each one who came to attend the workshop, around 30 in number, (22 on the first day, 27 on second and 29 on the third day to be precise) from various walks of life- Theatre, Cine, Kathakali and Kutiyattam Artists, Dancers, Educationists, Lawyers, Civil servants, Administrators, Visual Artists, Sports persons, Singers, Traditional performers, Teachers, and students - eagerly shared the wealth of their experiences and contributed ideas to face and challenge the burning issue, in the deliberations. Due representation was given to seasoned artists who struggled against all odds and found their position in the field of performing arts. The participants included men also to complete the spectrum of understanding.
The value system which is the residue of a society’s moral, ethical, and religious culture was identified as a key factor that determined how a performer was viewed in that society. It is evident from how, in the west, an artist /performer is treated with that identity whereas in India, especially Kerala, the gender of the performer/artist determines the kind of treatment given. Discussions relating to this have happened before and in this workshop it resumed with fresh energy.
Day One/ 22 September 2017
The first day of the workshop centered on the history and position of women in theatre and its current scenario. Prof. Chandradasan, the director of the workshop introduced the subject. He mentioned that exploitation and inequalities have no boarders and women are exposed to various forms of abuse and ill-treatment worldwide. “The workshop intends to explore the dark corners of bitter experiences women encounter, the myriad emotions they live through and the voyeuristic eyes they have comprehended,” he said. The subtle evolution of the concept of gender and theater from the earlier women and theater was clearly delineated.
Prominent theatre and state award winning film actress, Sajitha Madathil gave a comprehensive discourse on the role of women in the history and evolution of theatre in Kerala. She adhered to the fact that women are still at the receiving end of unpleasant experiences, citing examples. The situation is as grim as it was in the olden days, even though creative revolutions have taken place at various phases in the evolution of the Malayalam theatre and theater has even been used as a tool to throw light upon the ordeals faced by women.
Kathakali artist Ranjini Suresh talked about the conservative realm of Kathakali training and the discriminations she had to face as a woman performer who took up to perform the challenging male epic characters like Ravana, in the male dominant world of Kathakali. The woman performer’s greatest challenge was to break free from the performance parameters set by the male masters even for female characters/roles. Innovations by women artists is rarely acknowledged and if at all recognized, it is ascribed to a male support in the form of a guru or blood relation.
Afternoon session addressed the main issue- exploitation and injustice women artist face in theatre. The eighty four year old singer and theatre artist P K Medini talked at length about her long, traumatic journey into art and life. She belongs to the first generation that tried to coalesce politics and art. The issue of language and body language was discussed at length.
Sajitha Madathil (Theatre and cine actor), Ranjini Suresh (Kathakali Actor), Madan Babu (Actor and writer), Arun PR (Writer), Aparna Venu (Researcher), Selvaraj VR (Actor), PK Medini (Veteran Actor, Singer and social activist), Asha Devi (Actor), and Shobha Menon (Visual Artist) actively participated in the days discussions along with others.
Day Two -23 September 2017
Eminent academician, writer, orator, and social activist Prof. M K Sanu graced the second day of the workshop. This 88 year old, prominent literary figure of Kerala who has authored more than thirty-six books, arrived at this workshop because of his passion for theatre. The topic acquired a progressive rise in insights and ideas as he discoursed authoritatively about the eventful milestones of Kerala theatre. He described how women were marginalized and swept aside by the powerful male attitudes and the contributory social structure.
Former Vice Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam and renowned Art scholar Prof. K G Paulose, theatre critic, writer and social activist Civic Chandran and prominent poet and activist Shri. S. Ramesan gave comments painted with stark realities. According to Prof.K G Paulose, the patriarchal psyche of a male dominant society continues to mar the theatre and its artistic equality. He spoke about the orthodox tribal psyche that has been passed down generations as archetypal images that prescribe specific performance spaces for the male and the female.  But according to him, an effective interference from the creative world can change the scenario positively and it is happening, though very slowly.
Civic Chandran had a different opinion. The Renaissance period had chopped off the artistic part of art and gave no prominence to art as a medium in its pursuit for uplifting women. He strongly suggested that drastic steps be taken to infuse artfulness in theatre.
Molly Kannamali, the veteran Chavittunatakam performer and mini screen actress energized the workshop with her unfailing spirit and enthusiasm for the art she represents. She gave a detailed speech about her plight as a woman performer. “All the old taboos with coarse, uncivilized attitudes still reign the world,” she said.
Chandradasan Introducing the workshop - Sajitha Madathil and Medini on both sides
Molly Kannamali (Veteran actor of Chavittunatakam), PR Arun (Writer), Prof. MK Sanu (Academician, writer, and social activist), Dr.KG Paulose (Former Vice Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam, Writer and theatre Critic), Civic Chandran (playwright and Social activist), Indu G (Kutiyattam Artist and Poet), Margi Madhu (Kutiyattam Actor), Nandini R Nair (Officer at Indian Civil Service), Prof. Anjali George (Academician), Priya Sreejith (Actor and Dancer), Anand Haridas (Journalist), and PK Medini (Singer and actor) lead the days deliberations.
Day Three – 24 September 2017
By the concluding day of the workshop, ‘the road not taken’, the path that needs to be taken, was more or less clearly identified. Each participant’s fresh thoughts and ideas synchronized with discourses from the previous day and that eventually became contemplations for future actions. Experts from new arenas like social auditing, business consultancy and tribal teaching asserted that everywhere the situations of women are of neglect and negation. In the course of the four sessions of the day, though different experiences and individual ideas were exchanged and interpreted, in the end it all coalesced as rivers into a sea.
“The peculiarity of a movement is that it never ends and takes a permanent shape; it travels, evolving in its course through time and space…,” one of the participants was heard saying at a lighter moment of the work shop…True enough…No finite shape evolved and no conclusions were reached…the ethos of Art started to travel to another phase, to take another form… The workshop flagged it off.
Sajitha Madathil (Actor), Prof. Gopan Chidambaram (Playwright and Academician), PR Arun (Writer), Madan Babu (Actor and writer), Shirley Somasundaran (actor and playwright), Dr.KG Paulose (Former Vice Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam, Writer and theatre Critic), Civic Chandran (playwright and Social activist), Bentla D’Coutha (Vice captain of women’s football team of India Coach, and referee in International matches), Nandini R Nair (Officer at Indian Civil Service), Selvaraj VR (Actor), Chathuri Chandrageetha (Social auditor and actor), Ferha Aziz (Lawyer, human rights worker and actor), and Suvarnna (musician), were the prime discussants in the final day.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ramith Ramesh from Lokadharmi Gets Admission in ITI Singapore...

10552596_633325956787483_2593371555200977689_nCongratulations and all the best to Ramith Ramesh Kalamandalam for getting admission to the prestigious Intercultural Theatre Institute(ITI), Singapore, to do the Professional Diploma in Intercultural Theatre (Acting).

It is a three year, full time, systematic training programme for professional actors. It is performer-centred, practice oriented training that emphasises intercultural work and original creation. It immerses students in traditional theatre forms of Asia (Kutiyattam, Beijing Opera, Japanese Noh Theatre and Wayang Wong from Indonesia) and juxtaposes these with intense interactions with Stanislavskian and post Stanislavskian actor training techniques.

Only 12 to 16 students are admitted per batch every year selected from all across the world, and we are proud that Ramith is one among them selected this year. Ramith is the second student from Lokadharmi, who got admission in ITI after Pooja Mohanraj who is there in the 1916 batch 21687846_1772917766333871_4828884373697645391_n

Ramith had done his graduation from Kalamandalam in Kutiyattam before joining Lokadharmi. He has been in the repertory of Lokadharmi for the last one year and part of the play Karnnabharam by Bhasa. He has been member of the team Lokadharmi when Karnnabharam was staged in the National Festival of Classical plays at Ujjain and Indore organised by National School of Drama in July 2017.

Ramith has been awarded with the Natyasree award from Vysakhi Visakhapattanam this year.