THRISSUR: If the saying ‘theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society’ is true, then Rangachetana Theatre Group has lived it literally. Despite the challenges, the theatre group in the cultural capital conducted 600 weekly performances every Sundays, continuously for 12 years, making history.
With a legacy of about 42 years in staging dramas across the state, Rangachetana has been upholding its vision ‘Arangidathinu Ellarum Avakashikal’ (All have the right for stages). On May 22, 2011, Rangachetana began the weekly staging of its plays at the Natyagraha of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi. Being a city with numerous theatre enthusiasts, the weekly performance has been a much-sought-after one in Thrissur. “Through the performances, we aimed at creating a platform to bring the changes happening in international theatre to local stages. It also paved way for creating plays out of famous poems, mythical stories etc,” said a performer of Rangachetana.
Not only did the venture create a platform for experimental theatres, it also improved the aesthetic level of the audience in the cultural capital. Right from theatre students to senior citizens, the Rangachetana’s weekly performances have created in them a vision of drama and the nuances of the centuries-old artform. “Over the years, the weekly performances led to adopting plays of internationally acclaimed writers like Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov, Lady Gregory, etc, along with prominent Malayalam writers like Thoppil Bhasi, C J Thomas, N N Pillai, Cherukadu and many others,” said E T Varghese, president of Rangachetana Theatre Group.
When Covid outbreak put curtains on stage performances, the group took theatre to houses, ensuring that the continuity was never lost. The theatre group’s social commitment never stopped with just performances. It also took efforts to providing theatre therapy to inmates of Association for Mentally Handicapped Adults (AMHA). Theatre therapy for autistic students under the Aranattukara Centre for Research and Development of Autistic children (CRDAC) was also a success with the children belonging to various spectrums of autism performing a play based on Kunjunni Master’s poem. The group used to conduct theatre camps for children and elders, taking the artform to enthusiasts of all age groups.
Celebrating its successful saga, the group plans to conduct a week-long ‘Rangotsavam’ with a variety of performances and discussions. As a part of the celebrations, Rangachetana will hold daily theatre performances from November 6 to 13. Sixteen plays will be staged. Writer Sarah Joseph will inaugurate ‘Rangotsavam; on November 6 on KSNA campus.