So the curtain does not fall

So the curtain does not fall


From a modest beginning, the Sangha, an organisation of professional theatre artistes headed by Malathi Sudhir, currently has 40 members, including the cook and his support staff.

The problems the organisation faces is not too different from the many such organisations faced earlier, forcing them to shut shop. There is neither government support nor sufficient funding to help theatre survive.

Through all the hardships, the organisation is being run primarily from the money collected from the audience and what is encouraging is that there is still an audience for the theatre. But at the same time, it is disheartening to find that the government does not provide any form of support to it.

The entire team lives under one roof, working together to keep the dream alive. The entrance fee per show is just Rs 50. And with less number of shows being performed and low turnout of audience turning up for each show, the fund is clearly not enough.

A confident lot

But the team has enough character and value, besides being self-confident to take the boat ashore day after day.

With plays of different genres performed on different days of the week, the audience are not disappointed. The enhusiasm is never missing. Basavaraj, a theatre enthusiast, said: “Stage performances are more real when compared to films or daily soaps. If an actor forgets his lines or doesn’t perform well, he is asked to leave the stage or is even pelted with tomatoes by the audience. This cannot be done when we watch a movie.”

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Malathi Sudhir said: “Our main motive is not just earning money. One will always find a message in every play.”

B Mallikarjuna, one of the theatre artistes, says: “Acting is my passion, and I have been acting for the past 40 years. It is very discouraging and depressing when we see that the government doesn’t financially support us but we have no option but acting… So we learn to survive under all circumstances.”

With most of them depending only on acting, as they have no real qualification otherwise, they earn based on their role in each play. Of course, the lead character gets more. Almost all the people here have started their acting careers in their childhood.

For example, Rajeshwari started performing on stage at the age of three. Noted Kannada actor Umashree, who also began her career through theatre, said: “Malathi Sudhir is a very strong woman and goes through a lot of trials and tribulations to run this theatre but never loses hope. She is a very good artiste herself and a woman who makes sure her team gets all the facilities needed.”

The theatre, Umashree said, was not an ordinary one. “I think that government should encourage them.”