‘Foster-mothers and foreign funds cripple Malayalam drama’ - The New Indian Express

‘Foster-mothers and foreign funds cripple Malayalam drama’

Published: 22nd November 2012 01:04 PM

Last Updated: 22nd November 2012 01:04 PM

As the 12th National Theatre Festival is all set to be held here from November 25 to December 1 under the aegis of the Information and Public Relations Department, heated arguments have gripped the amateur drama scene of the state.

Owing to the warring interests among theatre fraternity, the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi could not even declare the results of the recently concluded state amateur drama competition.

The amateur theatre which once stirred a social renaissance in the state has been reduced to a mere spectrum of stunning visual experience, say theatre critics.

S Sunil Kumar, noted drama director and assistant professor of scenic design at the School of Drama and Fine Arts, Thrissur, said that the recent activities of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi and the National School of Drama have brought in a kind of counterproductive atmosphere in the amateur drama scene in the state.

“Both institutes, with the assistance of foreign funded agencies, have been engaged in promoting a poor kind of sensibility which ruins the organic political amateur theatre in the state and create an atmosphere of apathy among the drama artists.

“The plays staged at the international drama festival of Kerala for the last three years were even below the quality of low-grade professional dramas being produced in Kerala,” Sunil said.

Priyanandanan, national-award winning film maker and drama director, said that the activities of Sangeetha Nataka Akademi lack any kind of artistic vision but marked by individual preferences and profit motif.

“The kind of aesthetic sensibility being promoted by the Sangeetha Nataka Akademi with the funds from foreign foundations does not contribute to the growth of amateur drama than developing a fake concept that theatre should be a costly venture of mere light and music.”

He said that the Natyagruha, an auditorium built by Akademi in Thrissur meant for the practice and staging of plays are often rented out for the meetings of multi-level marketing companies.

K V Sreeja, playwright and director and the foremost representative of the contemporary Malayalam feminist theatre, however, has a slightly different perspective.

“Instead of the products of people’s initiatives in villages drama has now been reduced to a venture of academicians and professionals whose concept of theatre is focused more on stage craft,” she said. It is expected that such arguments may pave way for heated debates in the daily sessions for discussions during the National Drama Festival.

Meanwhile, the theatre artists from across the state assembled on Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi premises on Tuesday to register protest against the delay in declaring the results of amateur drama fest and to plan further protests against the ‘lethargic’ functioning of the Akademi. A memorandum in this regard will be submitted to the Akademi secretary on Friday.

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