Thanks to Rangashankara, I have been re-introduced to the world of Kannada plays. In the past few months, I have taken some time to see many Kannada plays. And each one of them has been great, if not awesome. It is amazing to see the talent of these people.
Last I had seen any play was when I was a kid. It was the period of touring 'drama companies' which used to land at our place in the winter season. It was like a time of festivities for the whole region when people would discuss previous day's play and wonder what is in store today. You had to go early and buy your tickects, would you need a seat for the show. I remember having seen a couple of then famous plays by Hirannyaih and co but I was too young and I hardly understood what happened on the stage. And as the days of the touring companies faded, I did not get to see any more plays, or 'drama' as they used to call it. There always used to be some or the other play happening at Raveendra Kalakshetra, Gubbi Veeranna hall, Chitra Kala Parishat or many more places but I never made it there for many not-so-valid reasons. But when Rangashankara happened in Bangalore last year, my interest was re-kindled.
It is when I saw Girish Karnad written Hayavadana that it occured to me how mature Kannada plays have become. Hayavadana has a storyline that is as common as it could get - a triangle love story. But it is the rendition that catches you. The play seeks your attention to the last minute. The actors more than justify their roles and the music is soothing and involving. But it is the script and the beautiful language that conquers the heart of every audience. The play, anchored by TS Nagabharana seems to be perfect in every sense despite the week plot in the story.
These good features are something that is shared by most of the 'a dozen or so' plays that I have seen in the past few months. Though some plays do seem to have flaws in some or the other areas, they compensate by excelling in something. Kailasam's 'Ammavra Ganda' had his typical comical edge though the actors turned out to be a little fidgety. Karimayi, relaunched after more than two decades stole everyone's heart with great music. Midsummer Night's Dream performed by CR Simha's group was a joy to watch despite being a translation. Odakalu Bimba was simply too good for the simplicity it contained. Almost every play I saw was worth watching. And considering that I have hardly seen more than a dozen plays, I think I have a lot more entertainment waiting for me in the days to come.