THRISSUR: The 11th edition of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) got underway at the Actor Murali Open Theatre on the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi premises here on Sunday, with Culture Mister A K Balan declaring it open.
“ITFoK has practically remained the same all these years after it began mainly due to the efforts of thespian Murali. It has to be developed into a festival of entire Thrissur with the participation of Tourism Department, district panchayat and Corporation,” said Balan.
The minister also referred to the financial constraints encountered by the state post-flood and the challenges involved in organising ITFoK.
“ITFoK is a festival of the people and it cannot be cancelled just like that. Hence this time, the festival’s duration has been curtailed to seven days and the number of plays restricted to 13,” he said. But in the coming years, it will be a grant affair with increased participation and support.
The discontent among theatre enthusiasts in the state over the diminished importance given to Malayalam plays at the ITFoK too figured in Balan’s speech.
“It is a panel which chooses the plays to be performed. Once the panel is appointed, even the state government has no say in selection of plays,” he said. KSNA chairperson KPAC Lalitha presided. Education Minister C Raveendranath released the Festival Book during the ceremony.
Ammanur Puraskaram awarded to Prasanna
Kannada theatre activist Prasanna was awarded the prestigious Ammanur Puraskaram on Sunday. In his acceptance speech, Prasanna said: “Theatre is not just entertainment. It has great social rules especially in the present scenario of us being threatened by right-wing forces and neo-fascism.”
He added: “An actor is the core of the theatre. Not the scenography. Where is scenography in Kathakali or Koodiyattam or any ancient art form? It is actors like Ammanur, who becomes the character, be it Rama, Ravana or anyone else.”