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The latest production of Sopanam. Nalacharitham, the famous Kathakali story has Nala as its protagonist who gets possessed of Kali, the evil character. The text of this play provides a context in which there is interaction of three characters Nala, Kali and Natan (actor) of which Kali has no physical existence. His presence can be manifested only through the Natan (actor). Here when the Kathakali theme makes its renewed passage to the modern theatre it presents to us a thought process which forms the very basis of the art of transformation in theatre.

Playwright & Direction : Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Language : Malayalam
Duration : 90 min


Daivathar is the story of a man-made God. When the necessity of the creation of a Saviour is felt by the society, the right person for the godhood is sought after. The poor man who is made God ultimately becomes a victim of the social hysteria.The society never realizes the raw man who resides in their God with all his mundane needs and desires unfulfilled. They revel in their deification, while their hapless God dies in harness.

Playwright & Direction : Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Language : Malayalam
Duration : 90 min
First produced : 1970


First production of Sopanam in 1968. A social satire, which deals with the conflict between society and individual. The President, Secretary and Treasurer of a social organization claim their superiority over all other members, as they are in ultimate charge of the individual at least when he dies. The corpse is left with them to be negotiated with at the funeral. The individual however strong and independent has to ultimately succumb to the common fold.

Playwright : Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Direction : Dr. K.K.Panikker & Kumara Varma
Language : Malayalam
Duration : 75 min


Mahakavi Bhasa's play Charudatta is construed here as an a 'avastha' - a state of being. It is believed that the text is a Fragment and not a complete play. But this is not taken as a weak point; rather it is made a forte, as the images and suggestions, which occur in the text, provide contextual inputs for a virtual completion of a thought process.It is also a regionally accepted tradition in Kerala to create a context as sufficient text for interpretation on stage. In tribal and folk narrative art no story ever, finally ends.It ensures the continuity of the story as well as life. It is visualized that the unfinished story line can suggest its never-ending quality also. There is no denouement envisaged in the young courtesan's love for Charudatta; but it remains pervading and keeps as fresh as at its emanant point of love at first sight; and as a result the character goes through her firm belief that her blemish of being a courtesan will be got rid off by the intense love for an impoverished man like Charudatta.The infatuation for her lover sprouts into its full-fledged stage as she herself portrays a printing of her lover with her own figure being infolded to his heart. In the end she gets out on a journey in search of her cherished dream - a search which keeps her always suffer the pangs of separations in love.

Original in Sanskrit : Mahakavi Bhasa
Direction : Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Language : Sanskrit
Duration : 120 min


(Based on Maya Sitamkam-Act III of the Sanskrit play Ascharya Chudamani by Saktibhadra, Kerala poet of 9th Century A.D.)

The theme of the play is woven around the abduction of Sita by Ravana. Maricha, a rakshasa by birth, is now evolved into a state of sainthood through years of strict penance and concentrated yearning for salvation. When Ravana, his nephew demands of him that he should approach Sita in her forest dwelling in the guise of a golden deer and allure her to create a situation so that he could kidnap her, Maricha is in a dilemma. Ravana threatens that he would kill him if he foils his design. Maricha decides to fulfill his nephew's desire, opting himself to be killed by Rama, instead of by Ravana.

Maricha assumes the role of the golden deer and enthralls Sita. Sita entreats Rama to get the deer for her. Rama sets out in pursuit of it. Lakshmana apprehends danger in this and feels that it is a plot of the rakshasas.

Rama's voice for help is heard from behind and Sita gets anxious and compels Lakshmana to save him. But Lakshmana would not condescend, fearing foul play. Sita gets annoyed and goes to the extend of abusing Lakshmana. Finally he leaves in search of his brother.

Ravana enters in a chariot accompanied by his sister Surpanaka to reek vengeance on the insult meted out to her by Rama and Lakshmana. Surpanaka implores Ravana that the right way of retaliation would be to abduct Sita, thereby causing misery to Rama.

Ravana assumes the role of Rama; Surpanaka that of Sita and the charioteer that of Lakshmana. Ravana as Maya Rama approaches Sita and suddenly Maya Lakshmana enters in the chariot announcing the news which he received from the rishis of the forest that Bharata is in danger and that they would have to return immediately to Ayodhya. Sita is agreeable for the idea and they leave.

Surpanaka as Maya Sita goes to find out Rama. On the way she comes across Rama who announces that he had sent the fatal arrow at Maricha and when it was hit, he assumed the appearance of Rama. The real Rama and the Maya Sita find the Maya Rama and the real Sita travelling in the aerial chariot. Sita who is with Ravana is totally confused in seeing Rama and Sita together down on the earth. Ravana consoles Sita that what she is made to believe is only the illusion created by rakshasas.

Rama now goes in search of Lakshmana with Maya Sita. Lakshmana is seen encountering the dying Maricha thinking that it was his own brother Rama who was dying. When the real Rama appears, Lakshmana is at the verge of fighting him thinking that he was Maya Rama. Ultimately when Maricha dies at the feet of Rama, Lakshmana realizes his mistake. Rama graciously allows Maya Sita (Shurpanaka) to get away, inspite of Lakshmana's rage to kill her. The play concludes when Rama and Lakshmana set out on the search for Sita.

Original in Sanskrit : Mahakavi Saktibhadra
Translation & Direction : Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Language : Malayalam
Duration : 90 min

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