Beyond words is the experience this drama could impart. We were not watching a drama but witnessing real life. The new theatrical endeavour of dramatist Deepan Shivaraman Khasakinte Itihasam is an independent adaptation of O V Vijayan’s novel of the same name. I am happy that I got an opportunity to experience it.
This particular enterprise produced by Trikkarippur K M K Kalasamiti adopted a novel form of presentation and stage craft. They introduced an open-air theatre with galleries for the audience to be seated. I wonder it is modeled on a Greek theatre. The stage consists of main stage, sub stage, ground and its premises. The characters were coming out from various parts of the whole of the arena. It was not like playing a usual drama, people were just caught on their collars and dropped into the midst of the story. The brains behind the stage let the audience experience it rather than just watch it. It was an excavation onto the Legends of Khasak. The legends of Khasak came out of their graves and took us to their times. They lived, made love, fought, cried and died in front of us. The characters were alive they were not acting.
Most of the modern technologies were incorporated to make the experience wholesome. Artificial rain was used which was over whelming. Projecting some shots in screen parallel to the play is a new thought. Lighting by Jose Koshi was excellent with yellow and blue colors dominating the rest. At some instances, fire was the only source of light which created a different atmosphere. The mesmerising power of music added to the ambience. The neighing of horses, sound of its footsteps, background score with a Sufi touch, the narration of the story of Shake Thangal and his troop of thousand and one horses and three full songs made sure we were completely involved.
It was an experience satisfying all our senses be it visual, auditory, taste or smell. The hot and spicy biriyani served to audience during Mymuna’s marriage was rich in smell and taste. The fire, water, and earth have strong presence throughout the play. The scenes of exorcism wouldn’t have been excellent without fire. Fire torches were used abundantly in the play. The artificial rain in this play was unexpected but awesome. The main stage was bare earth. The characters rolled over it and even slept over the mud. The props like snake, doll, masks, mats and tomatoes acted as symbols and image.
I wonder this is how the theatres in Kerala are expanding their scope. I like to look at this enterprise as a showcase of technical innovation. This is something worth calling a post-modern drama. This particular theatre enterprise would be a huge leap in the history of modern Malayalam theatre. Making use of all possible techniques at present to impart strong emotions made it an experience that gifted me a worthy three and a half hours in my life.