ITFoK 2012 is on at Sangeetha Nataka Akademi complex in Thrissur from 2012 February 1 to 8. This fourth edition of the festival focuses on classics rather than contemporary world theatre. It is marked for the overwhelming presence of cultural activists and theatre persons from all over Kerala and all across the world.
The focus on classics may also imply a strategic avoidance and erasure of the vibrancy and dynamism of contemporary theatre. But some of the plays in the fest like Molagapodybased on Bama’s short fiction expressed the political and polemical dramatic articulations that could speak to its time. Usha Ganguly’s adaptation of Chandalika by Tagore is also a meaningful theatrical experience that addresses the social inequality and weight of history in Indian and Bengali contexts.
Whatever be the thematic content and its political signification the audiences in Thrissur are making it a true and live festival of cultural interaction and carnival. The auditoriums are burgeoning with the enthusiasm of the spectators. But the artistic directors and conceptual designers must rethink about the political implications and contemporary relevance in the selection.
Sankar Venkiteswaran’s Water Station and Deepan Sivaraman’s Peer Gyntare two exceptional plays from Kerala. While Sankar meditatively penetrated into the subtle layers of the visual, Deepan powerfully dramatized the other and darker realms of the human mind and senses through his firebrand style and execution.
Imagining O by School of Arts, University of Kent was a revolutionary production in terms of theatrical improvisation, unconventional idiom, and the kind of new experience it offered to the audience. The young director and his crew created a parallel world of fantasy and desire with a new body culture and communication. It also provided a feminist critique of the classics and the contemporary world.