No one is ever too old for stories. City-based theatre group, Theatrekaran, is counting on this, as they present the first edition of Kadhaigal Kaanalam — an innovative storytelling session — at Wandering Artist this weekend.
Raghavendr S, who founded the group along with his friend Sabarivas in 2015, wanted to change the way storytelling is approached in Tamil. “We did not want it to be a reading or a simple narration,” he says. With three actors taking on the role of storytellers for this production, Sabarivas adds that they will be doing a mono-acting of sorts — taking on the role of the narrator while acting out all the characters in the story.
Moving beyond mythology
While the group’s primary focus thus far has been on mythological tales such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and Kalki’s plays, they have taken this chance to experiment with their content. After four free shows in their own space, Sabarivas says that the audience reaction encouraged them to take it to a slightly larger audience.
“The format of the production is such that it does well in an intimate space. So we did not want to go to a big number right away. We’re keeping it to around 100 seats,” he explains.
Sai Vignesh, who works with Ubereats by day and moonlights as an actor, will tackle the sensitive topic of jallikattu, as written in a story from the 1920s.
“We are not going into the argument of whether it is essential or not. The story will give you a glimpse of what happens on the field,” says Raghavendr.
There’s also a horror story to be expected (an original by actor-director Madan) — there will be some thrilling moments as part of this set. And to go with the patriotic fervor surrounding the elections, a real-life incident from the Indo-China War will be narrated by Vijay Krishnan.
Sabarivas promises that it will be “visually arresting,” with the use of lighting effects, some of which will take the audience unawares. It’s not all history and action, however. The crowd can also expect a stand-up act by Rayyan Thenmalaikhan between the sets, a palate cleanser of sorts to move between genres.
This article originally appeared in TheHindu on April 27, 2019, and has been reposted with permission.
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