CHENNAI: For a play that was titled Krishna – The Soul Seeker, the audience got to witness very little of Krishna on stage. Chettinad Players, the theatre group from Chettinad Vidyashram school, staged the play at their school auditorium from Thursday till Sunday. Opening with three love-sick princes, who are constantly looking out for swayamwaras to find themselves brides, the two-hour-play traces the life of Krishna, his trysts with Rukmini, contradictions with King Jarasandha, who is out to get him for killing his son-in-law, and his trepidations at Mathura.
The three whimsical princes, despite the fact that their acting and humour sense were good, were seen on stage more than one would have liked to. Their cute antics were tolerable for the first hour, but after reaching saturation point, one wished that the handsome Krishna was back on stage and the story moved forward.
Analogous narratives did carry the story forward, but there could have been more detailing. Mere words weren’t enough to get the complete picture of Draupadi’s marriage to the Pandavas, however strong and effective Kumaravel and Deepika Kumaravel’s writing was.
The fights between the strong Jarasandha and Krishna were highly gripping. Even better were the ones between Krishna and Duryodhana, all of them choreographed by Asif.
The pleasing costumes by Principal of the school Amudha Lakshmi synched in harmony with the effective sets from Thotta Tharrani. The rich grandeur of the black setting with the specks of red and yellow took one way back at times. Paul Jacob’s sounds and lighting from Lawrence added much depth to numerous scenes.
The final few scenes in which Gandhari discovers that all of her sons are killed in the Kurukshetra war stood out, with brilliant performances from both Krishna and the blindfolded queen. Shabeer Kallarakal as Krishna, fit the bill perfectly and did complete justice to his role with ample maturity as an actor. Raghav Siva as Duryodhana stole the limelight in his scenes. Sabarivas as the mighty Jarasandha delivered the message with his powerful eyes and forceful gestures. Akshay as Bheeshma, Santhosh as Drona, Aditya as Arjuna, Uchit, Pragyan and Sidharth as the three princes all came up with noteworthy performances and added value to their characters. With their previous productions, Vaali Vadham, Raavana and Raghuvamsam to name a few, the Chettinad Players had set a remarkable standard for themselves. With Krishna too came many expectations, which they failed to meet at a certain level. But the way the director ended the play, leaving the audience guessing the many open-ended questions was a good move.