TIRUCHY: Taking a breather from wooing Valli, Lord Muruga delivers a message on what precautions one should take to ward off corona virus. This is the novel idea stage artistes have come up with to keep their profession alive as the pandemic wrought havoc on their lives.
With opportunities to don the grease paint not coming by, a group of stage artistes in Manapparai hit upon the idea to intersperse devotional dramas with Covid awareness messages and live stream them on social media. Valli Thirumanam is their first attempt.
Tamil months from Maasi till Aavani (February-September) is when stage artistes across the State would be in demand, as a large number of temple festivals would be organized. But due to the pandemic, all major temples remain closed and public gathering events, including dramas, banned. This caused financial hardship to thousands of artistes. Desperate to stay afloat, over 100 stage artistes came up with the idea of going live on YouTube and Facebook with plays intersperses with awareness messages.
“At least 250 artistes and musicians rely on stage dramas in temple festivals. Due to the pandemic, all have lost their livelihoods. The season is drawing to a close and there would be no bookings this year even though the lockdown has been relaxed. We will have wait for a year to get on stage,” said Pannai M P Singara Velan, organiser and actor.
He thanked the State government for providing financial assiatance for those registered with the welfare board, but said only 30 per cent of artistes benefitted. “Considering our situation, we came up with the idea to start broadcasting stage dramas on social media. It also would raise awareness of the plight of artistes. We would be performing Harichandra Mayana Kandam, Sathiyavan Savitri with a corona awareness message later this month,” Velan added.