Spinal Cord is a Malayalam theatrical adaptation of Marquez, the Colombian master of fiction. Deepan Sivaraman has shown his remarkable directorial and scenographic skills in the experimental production which has already seen a number of stages within Kerala and won laurels abroad.
The sandwich stage and participatory tropes are de-centered and democratic. The trained cast and crew are rising to the occasion. But unfortunately the B V Bhavan in Ernakulam where I watched the whole drama in the hot and humid evening could not hold the eager audience who were kept out by the small and scorching auditorium.
Though the play was trying to articulate an inclusive gender politics and justice the theater and venue excluded the spectators who thronged into the crowded house from all over Kerala. Though poetic justice was ruling over the stage material justice was denied to the people who came to watch the play.
The play interrogates and critically explicates the patriarchal concept of woman’s chastity. The bloody violence and struggles that follow in order to maintain chastity and family/caste honor are also dramatically visualized with excellent lighting and stage properties. This new breed of Malayalam theater also uses multimedia support for visual simulation. Actor Gopalan who played the lead of an old woman did an excellent performance. It is a meaningful and valid dramatic attempt for representing cultural reality while attacking patriarchy.