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Fourth International Theatre Festival of Kerala

Showcase: A smorgasbord of plays

K. SANTHOSH


Kreutzer Sonata from Lithuania.

Kalidasa, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Tagore and Shogo Otto will vie for attention at the Fourth International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK).

It will serve up a smorgasbord of eight plays from abroad and 10 Indian productions. ‘ITFoK Reach Out With Indian Plays’, ancillary festivals at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, will showcase six dramas each.

Manganiars and “Malavikagnimitram” make great bedfellows on Day One at the main event. With its acts trimmed down from the original five to two, Kalidasa’s “Malavikagnimitram” (Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts, Kerala) will get a new interpretation by Kavalam Narayana Panicker after folk minstrels from Rajasthan work their magic.

A two-hour wordless portrayal of loneliness awaits in Sankar Venkiteswaran’s “Water Station” (Theatre Roots and Wings, Kerala). Pino Di Budo’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea’ (Theatre Potlach, Italy), inspired by Jules Verne’s novel of the same title, artistically combines narrative techniques of theatre and digital scenography.

Maria Nemirovskey’s “Odysseus Chaoticu” (ISH Theatre, Israel) is a celebration of physical theatre, clowning and mime, founded on mythological themes and archetypal characters. Pawel Szkotak’s ‘Carmen Funebre’ (Teatro Buiro Pedrozy, Poland) has been inspired by the pity of war in Bosnia and other ethnic conflicts. As preparation, the artistes and technicians interacted with refugees from former Yugoslavia.

Deepan Sivaraman delivers an intensely physical, visually rich and ritualistically structured adaptation of “Peer Gynt” (Oxygen Theatre

Company), Ibsen’s five-act play. “Imagining O” (University of Kent, U.K.), Richard Schechner’s site-specific production blends the stories of Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Pauline Pozdnyshev, the main character in Saulius Varnas’ adaptation of Tolstoy’s novella, Kreutzer Sonata (Juozas Militinis Drama Theatre, Lithuania), argues that the root cause for all the events that made him murder his wife are ‘animal excesses’ and ‘swinish connection’ governing the relation between the sexes.

During a train ride, Pozdnyshev overhears a conversation related to marriage, divorce and love. When a woman argues that marriage should not be arranged but based on true love, he asks, “What is love?”

International Theatre Festival of Kerala: February 1-8, Thrissur. ITFoK Reach Out With Indian Plays: February 2-7 at Thiruvananthapuram; February 3-8 at Kozhikode.

Bottomline: An eclectic mix from India and abroad

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