A play for all times
`Snehadoothan' was staged to commemorate the 75th birth anniversary of the thespian G. Shankarapillai.
IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH: A scene from the play `Snehadoothan.'
Rangaprabhath, a children's theatre that has been functioning at Venjaramoodu, near Thiruvananthapuram, for the last 34 years staged `Snehadoothan,' the first play penned by the doyen of theatre, the late G. Shankarapillai.
The play was performed on the occasion of the 75th birth anniversary of the playwright. The one-hour play, which was staged at Hassan Marikkar Hall, was based on the life of Sidhartha who struggles to come out of his material self to become the Buddha.
The transformation of Siddhartha was aesthetically portrayed. Sidhartha's glimpses of a life of pain, struggle, disease and death forces him to confront the reality that his father wants to hide from him. Nocturnal escapades into the world outside his palace makes him see `decrepit old women of tomorrow through the now beautiful dancers' performing for him in the palace. "How can I be happy when I see the truth?" he asks his friend in anguish. Siddhartha's anguish and his search for the eternal truth struck a chord in the audience who was spellbound by the play.
Each character, be it the King or Yasodhara, was given life and verve by the playwright and the director. Even the soldiers who guard the palace had their pathetic story to narrate.
The play was directed by K. Kochunarayanapillai, founder-director of Rangaprabhath. The role of Buddha was very well played by Hareesh while Yashodhara, enacted by Aswathy Kalakshethra, tugged at the heartstrings of the audience.
"It took many days of practice before the actual performance," says Kochunarayanapillai.
G. Shankarapillai had written 115 plays, and Rangaprabhath is on a mission to stage the plays one by one. It was in 1957 that Shankarapillai wrote the celebrated play. "This is our first venture. In fact, we chose the play for a different reason. It is a play that can be read at many levels," says Kochunarayanapillai.
The play began after a reading. Before the stage performance, there was a discussion on the work by various academicians and theatre artists.
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