Dusk-to-dawn: Play on 5 stages

Dusk-to-dawn: Play on  5 stages


 Theatre director Basavalingaiah, Rangayana artist Krishna Prasad and faculty K Y Narayanaswamy discussing the play at Rangayana, in Mysore on Sunday. dh photoPlanned to last from late night till morning, the play is the classic by Kannada literary icon, Kuvempu, ‘Malegalalli Madumagalu’ (The bride in the hills)’ to be staged in three months time.

Brainchild of Basavalingaiah, former director of Mysore’s theatre complex and India’s only State-run repertory, Rangayana, the play is planned to be staged at five stages in and outside Rangayana - ‘Yaksha Ranga, ‘Vana Ranga’, ‘ Hadibadi Ranga’, ‘Bhoomi Geeta’ and ‘Topu’ - an adjoining area with dense growth of trees.

 “The audience will move with us whenever we shift the play from one platform to another, literally,” Basavalingaiah said adding, a portion of Kukkarahalli lake will be used too, to depict the river that features in the novel.

KuvempuJoining hands with Basavalingaiah in writing a workable script for Kuvempu’s 700-page novel divided into 65 chapters is Dr K Y Narayanaswamy, lecturer in Government Science College. Dwarakanath of Rangayana is busy preparing sketches of different platforms to be erected in about three months’ time.

Requiring at least 75 characters, the process is on to recruit at least 50 external artistes as the Rangayana repertory has just about two dozen. “The actors will do ‘live’ theatre for two-three months, which is the training duration for this play,” Basavalingaiah said.

“This experiment will defy all set norms of the stage,” said Basavalingaiah, descrining it as “performance at sight.” Apart from the performers,  audience who are static spectators in terms of theatre, will also be in for a surprise. “We could have them sitting atop a tree or look at the performance that’s happening in a trench,” he said.

An NSD graduate and a theatre activist, Basavalingaiah had assumed the post of director of Rangayana immediately after B V Karanth’s term ended. His experiments, often known for their ‘in-your-face’ kind of subjects and approach such as ‘Kusumabaale’, ‘Gandhi Vs Gandhi’ and ‘Shoodra Tapasvi’, are considered among masterpieces in Indian theatre. With a budget of Rs 15 lakh, the play has excited theatre lovers. As many as 150 tickets - priced at Rs 40 and Rs 50 - have been booked using online facility. 

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