Where the audience turned hitchhikers in space

Sci-fi musical Atita — The curse of Xeno, performed as part of ‘the little festival’, had one thinking about life after earth

Published: 07th July 2014 07:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2014 07:41 AM   |  A+A-

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CHENNAI: Envisaging a meteor striking the earth’s surface is perceptibly alarming, and to some, may bring back memories of the infamous December 21, 2012 prophesied cataclysm. So, what if a meteor actually strikes, eventually wiping out existence on earth? Well, that’s inconceivable and frightening to even think of. Nevertheless, does that stop one from picturing the corollaries? Atita – The Curse of the Xeno, directed by B Krishnakumar and produced by Ayesha Rao, was a superbly staged sci-fi musical, organised as part of the on-going ‘the little festival’, at the Egmore Museum Theatre. The drama, staged on three consecutive days starting from July 3, depicted the aftermath of such a disaster, if it were to happen. The message was clear – man would continue to explore all possible options, would continue to cling to the world and to one’s own life.

It so happens that a surreptitious fuel-rich meteor called Xeno bangs on planet earth, consequently wiping away all forms of existence. The play, then goes on, portraying how a few survivors manage to escape the calamity and embark on a spaceship by the name Wayfinger, and float into space in search of a new planet, a new home.

The audience, which largely comprised school children, seemed excited to be part of the spaceship, as passengers on-board.

The play shows a professor-cum-scientist, one of the travellers in the spaceship, claiming that Xeno is the only way to capture another planet. The audience adored the conversation between him and the captain. The music, lighting and the dialogue were unsullied and in sync. The whistles and huge applauses from the excited crowd, when the captain delivered a ‘punch dialogue’, added more enthusiasm to the show.

There was also a fun element in the play. A Tamil passenger by the name Yambo, was a funny one. His Iyengar style Tamil and his conversation with the fellow ‘foreign’ passengers made the audience break into peals of laughter.

He, along with a Spanish commuter Bino, create enough trouble for the professor and the captain by messing around with the Xeno. What follows is a verbal spat, again depicted musically, between the professor and a lady officer Valkyrie. The Xeno is now with Bino and the search for it turns extremely comical with Mal Function, a robot in the play, communicating to the captain and professor as to where Xeno actually was. There’s just one fear – One who holds the Xeno would be all powerful.

The scientist finally catches Yambo and Bilo and gets back the Xeno. The spaceship has now traversed a long distance and 20 years have passed. Atita is nearing...  But then here is the twist. The crew discovers a shocking new truth about Xeno when they land on Atita. Atita is actually the home of Xeno!

The drama was high on action and music — a unique concept indeed! Robot Mal Function received immense praise from the audience for performing some very mind-boggling dance moves towards the end of the play.

The Little Theatre has planned panel discussions as part of the little festival. The first discussion to be held on July 10 will be on the topic ‘Look at it differently’, where  eminent scholars will talk about looking things differently in theatre, music or garment, dance and writing lyrics. The second discussion on ‘Good morning art’, to be held on July 11, will see discussions on the importance of recognising the need of art in education.

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