projects - then
“All work and what a play!” wrote a critic about Pinocchio. Adapted from the original story and directed by Pravin, the play was created for a voluntary children’s organization – CRY (Child Relief and You) to awaken the plight of child labourers among the privileged young members of the society. Pinocchio was performed over a dozen times for hundreds of children and each time the message went home with a laugh.
Cast: Pinocchio – Natasha Jamal, Gepetto – J.Jayakumar, Fox – Hans Kaushik, Cat – E.Kumaravel, Jiminy Cricket – Michael Muthu, Baba Yaga – Sanjanthi Velu, School Teacher/Blue Fairy – Pushkala Shivram, Genie of the Beer Barrel – Paul Isaac, Chorus – Children of Little Theatre, Set: M. Natesh, Lights: M. Natesh, Script: Pravin and Hans Kaushik, Costumes: Padmini Chettur, Props: Kaveri Bharath, Direction: Pravin Music:
Based on Albert Camus’ famous play, Caligula is a foray into the deep dark soul of man and the conundrums of power. The play was distinct in its choice of venue. Magic Lantern chose to produce it, for the Koothu-p-pattarai, against the backdrop of an old museum, a red stone legacy of the British Empire, redolent with its own history. The actors’ intense training in Thang Tha, the Manipuri martial art form, underlined the latent violence in the play.
Cast: Caesonia – S.S. Kalairaanee (Kalai), Caius – J. Jayakumar, Cherea – E.Kumaravel, Death – Hans Kaushik, Helicon – M. Pasupathy, Moon – Sanjanthi Velu, Mucious – Rajiv Krishnan, Old Senator – M.George, Guard Puppet – M.Palani, Guard Puppet - Murali, Guard Puppet - Lingam, Senator #1 – Raja Ravivarma, Senator #2 – Joshua, Senator #3 – M.Bhaskar, Senator #4 – Chitti Babu, Senator #5 - Lingam, Scipio – S. Kalaiselvan, Soldiers: Lingam, Murali, Shreraam, Chaaly, Palani, Set: M. Natesh, Lights: M. Natesh, Script: Translated by Padmini Rajagopal, Adapted by E. Kumaravel, Costumes: Padmini Chettur, Direction: Pravin, Music: Udhay Choreography, Martial arts training: Khilton
Our dialogue with children began with Pinocchio and continued with Fables. A collage of the Fables of La Fontaine, the Indian Panchatantra and some Australian aboriginal Dreamtime Tales : the play on stage becomes a seamless, flowing story-river of talking animals, birds spouting clever advice, wise Gods, silly men and their sillier friends. Puppets and masks were designed for the several colourful characters, giving the play an aura of enchantment. It was performed in more than twenty schools all over Chennai to commemorate La Fontaine’s bicentenary.
Cast: Actors playing several roles- Sanjanthi Velu, K. S .K .Prasad, Hans Kaushik, Kaveri Bharath, E. Kumaravel, J. Jayakumar, Pravin, Tarun Agarwal.
Masks: M.Karthik, Script: Pravin and Hans Kaushik, Music: K .S. K. Prasad, Costumes: Magic Lantern, Direction: Pravin
Based on the French play ‘Où vas-tu, Jerémie?’ by P. Minyana, this play was directed in Tamil by Pravin. This play, called a ‘contemporary goldmine’, had five actors playing more than thirty characters drawn from the downtrodden the world over. The actors transformed themselves into different personas with ease and conviction while bringing out Minyana’s black humour, which laces this lament.
Cast: Actors playing several roles- K.Suresh, A.Lawrence, J.Jayakumar, Hans Kaushik, S.S. Kalairaanee, M.George, Samantha Dhandapani.
Set: Hans Kaushik, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Script: Tranlated by Padmini Rajagopal and adapted by E. Kumaravel, Costumes: Magic Lantern, Direction: Pravin
The play in Tamil is an adaptation from Molière’s Tartuffe or The Imposter. Said Elizabeth Roy in The Hindu: This well-known play by France’s greatest exponent of theatre, Molière, is about Tartuffe, a sensual, self-aggrandizing godman who trades in credulity (of the variety whose case, when busted, one reads about in the newspapers every other week). Molière would doubtless have enjoyed all of the contemporary guffaws that Magic Lantern’s irreverent version of this timeless comedy provokes from a modern audience.
Veshakkaran toured over twenty villages in Tamil Nadu, connecting with the realities of religious intolerance and charlatanism, alarmingly common these days.
Original Cast: Mrs.Pernelle – Krishna Devanandan, Elmire – Manisha Iyer, Dorine – Hans Kaushik, Marianne – Gayathri Shivram/Marie Philomena, Damis – Rajiv Krishnan, Cleante – Arumugavel, Laurent – Tarun Agarwal, Orgon – E. Kumaravel, Valere – Naveen, Tartuffe – M.Pasupathy, Loyal – Venugopal Officer – Yusuf Khan.
Later Cast: Over the years we resurrected Filipote, added a chorus of Tartuffe’s followers and the Bailiff’s men and replaced for one show or forever actors for all parts except Tartuffe and Orgon. The various actors who worked with us are listed: Purisai Kanappa Sambandam, K.S.K.Prasad, Pravin, Ranjan De, M.Natesh, Gayathri Shivram, Bagala, Karthik Narayanan, Vinay Gumaste, Isaac Varghese, Archana Ramaswamy, Sorates, Manoj,Shaun Paul, Devika, A.Lawrence, Jawahar Lal, Mohan.V, Priyamvadha, Siva, Arun, Shreraam, Dayal.
Set: M. Natesh, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Script: Translated by Padmini Rajagopal and adapted by E. Kumaravel, Music: K.S.K.Prasad, Costumes: Akhila Belle, Make up design: Ranjan De and Magic Lantern, Direction: Pravin
When men are at war, women are fodder. Mashalli Mohalla is a cry from the heart, torn from women repeatedly violated in Kashmir. This play was scripted from an article, which described the denoument and final judgement of a case involving the BSF (Border Security Force) and the women of Mashalli Mohalla. One frightful night, the BSF personnel descended on Mashalli Mohalla, a hamlet in Kashmir, to avenge the death of a colleague at the hands of terrorists. The men of the village were shot. The women, raped. The play brings to light the plight of rape victims, who face multiple humiliation during police questioning and judicial cross-examination. The BSF apologized for the incident, the newspaper reported.
Cast: In multiple roles, Krishna Devanandan and Gayathri Shivram, B. S. F. Soldier: M.Pasupathy, Script: Magic Lantern, Direction: Pravin, Lights: T. Bala
The incentive to do this play was that it was considered an impossible production in any medium. Five tomes of a much-celebrated classical Tamil novel couldn’t be translated onto stage, could it? Magic Lantern proved just how with: Eighty actors trained for a year. Famous artist and set designer, Thota Tharani and leading film star Nasser, gave their unstinted support The entire Tamil theatre community came together to make it possible, in the most unprecedented way; an outpouring of goodwill, joy and participation, all the values that Magic Lantern strives to impart... Finally when it was staged in the nearly-century-old Buck Open Air theatre, it drew people like a magnet. In fact, on all the days it was staged, those who couldn’t get tickets stood outside the auditorium, listening to the actors for the full four-and-a-half hours just to be a part of this endeavor!
Set: Thota Tharani, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Script: E. Kumaravel, Costumes: Nalini Sriram, Music: K.S.K.Prasad, Make up: Banu, Actors’ training: M.Pasupathy and Krishna Devanandan, Choreography Martial Arts and Dance: M.Pasupathy, Direction: Pravin
This farce in English, is a black commentary on the collusion and corruption in a police force misused by the state to suppress all voices of dissent, legitimate or otherwise. The Indian English adaptation spoke directly of certain draconian ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation which were only recently repealed after much abuse.
Cast: Anarchist – Hans Kaushik, Sub-Inspector#1 - Yog Japee, Sub-Inspector#2 – Asim Sharma, Constable – Jagan, Inspector – Paul Mathew, Journalist – Shreya Chari, Set: Vinay Gumaste and Surya Gumaste, Lights: M. Natesh, Script: Adapted and directed by Rajiv Krishnan, Music design: M.Pasupathy
The play Knock ou le Triomphe de la Medecineby Jules Romain was brought to life in a very Tamil way. The sudden sprouting of speciality clinics and testing laboratories, across India, which constantly refer patients to each other was the impulse to do this adaptation. With Pasupathy known for his roles of Sganarelle (Molière’s Dom Juan) and Tartuffe playing the insidious Dr. Naak, the play was a resounding success.
Cast: Dr. Parthasarathy – A.Lawrence, Nurse – Vidya, Dr.Naak – M.Pasupathy, Dr. Peter-compounder – Pravin, Town Drummer – E. Kumaravel, Pharmacist – Arumugavel, Young Lady – Kaveri Bharath, Set: Hans Kaushik, Lights: Dr. T.Bala, Script: Translated by Padmini Rajagopal, Costumes: Magic Lantern, Direction: Dr. Mu. Ramaswamy
Magic Lantern adapted Shakespeare’s Richard III in a lavish production called Pattam (The Title). In Richard III, the full range of Shakespeare’s verbal skills, his wit and comic inventiveness, the complexity and intensity of his tragic constructs, his sensitivity to human weakness, is shown through a multitude of characters and relationships.
Magic Lantern’s Tamil adaptation of Richard III brings out all the theatrical richness of Shakespeare’s text. While retaining the speed, variety and passion of the original, the Tamil script incorporated the necessary adaptations to make the characters and the story more accessible to our audiences. Our focus then, is not on English history, but a recognizable shared history.
Cast: J. Jayakumar, Hans Kaushik, E. Kumaravel, M.Pasupathi, K.S.K. Prasad, A.Lawrence, Dayal, Archana Ramaswamy, Thithili, Krishna Devanandan, M.Nasser, K.Karthikeyan, Jawahar, Ranjit, Manoj, Shiva, Set: Thota Tharani, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Translation: K. Padmanabhan, Script: Ruben Jay, Adaptation: E. Kumaravel, Costumes: Nalini Sriram, Music: K.S.K.Prasad, Make up: Magic Lantern, Props and Puppets: P. Purushothaman, Direction: Pravin
A hilarious play on the how the depravation of society has reached the common man. Adapted to the current Indian context, the play laid bare the collusion among petty bureaucrats and local officials who depend heavily on the “supplementary income” from unscrupulous businessmen to make ends meet.
Cast: Hans Kaushik, Paul Mathew, Kaveri Lalchand, P.C. Ramakrishna, Archana Ramaswamy, Jagan, E. Kumaravel, A.Lawrence, Yog Japee, Karthik Narayanan, Raghu Avula, Pravin, Aparna Gopinath, Set and Lights: M.Natesh, Script: Adapted and directed by Rajiv Krishnan
Adapted from Dario Fo’s The Virtuous Burglar, the play Minnal Ravi breaks open the civilized veneer of bad marriages in an extremely humorous way. The decadence among the rich and the powerful is contrasted with the simple affection between the burglar and his wife. E. Kumaravel, famous for his comic roles (Orgon in Veshakkaran, the subaltern murderer in Pattam), and J.Jayakumar, hitherto known for his lead roles (Don Juan, Caligula, Andrei in Andorra, Vandiya Thevan in Ponniyin Selvan and Maara Varman- Richard- in Pattam), regaled the audiences with sheer timing and a suave physicality in their acting.
Original Cast: Minnal Ravi – E.Kumaravel Bhanu – Devika Era Napolean – J.Jayakumar, Maya – Prema Mahalakshmi - Radha Kannan Guna – Dayal, Second Thirudan - Rajasekar, Sets: Hans Kaushik, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Script: Ruban J., Direction: Hans Kaushik
Rajiv Krishnan’s hugely popular production Moonshine and Skytoffee is an adaptation of two novellas by one of Kerala’s foremost novelists Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, melded beautifully into a single story. These unlikely love stories had everyone in the audience sighing and rooting for the lovelorn couples on a roller coaster ride that love has always been, perhaps!
Cast: Otakkannan Pokker – Hans Kaushik, Kesavan Nair – Balakrishnan / Dayal, Mandan Muthappa – Babu / jagan, Saramma – Aparna Gopinath, Zainaba – Gayathri / Taruna, Set and lights: M.Natesh, Adaptation and direction: Rajiv Krishnan
Inspired by Fiona Shaw’s reading of Plath’s novel, the play was an adaptation which highlighted the social pressures faced in our society even today leading to a mental breakdown and the bid for self- assertion. Combined into an evening with Albee’s classic the plays urges the audience to wake up to the realities of an increasingly consumeristic and insular society, unaware of how the other half lives. This play premiered at The Hindu Metro Festival to great acclaim.
Bell Jar Narrated by: Krishna Devanandan / Preethi Athreya, Devika, Krishna Dayal, Socrates, Manoj, Andrea Jacob / Nandhini.
Set, costume, make up: Magic Lantern, Bell Jar Script adaptation: Preeti Athreya and Magic Lantern, Music: Paul Jacob, Direction: Pravin, Lights: M.Natesh
Jambu Lingam is a satire adapted freely into Tamil from Padma Shri Dr. Chandrasekhar Kambar’s play ‘Samba Siva’.
At the surface, the story deals with Lingam’s search for his lady love, who also happens to have struck the eye of the king, who is searching for her as well. Jambu and Lingam are ‘blessed’ with a donkey by Lord Ganesha, who informs them the donkey will one day rule the kingdom. Here starts a series of hilarious events that pits the ‘commoner’, Jambu, against everything the royal State can throw at him. Eventually, after a series of comic machinations and mishaps, we see the common man emerge victorious and the donkey (sorry, the king) get his just desserts.
Read at another level, the play resonates with the apathy of the self-absorbed State and the corruption of the politicians and bureaucrats, who manipulate the State for their own gains. At the end of the day the subaltern is forced to live by his wits.
Cast: Jambu – J. Jayakumar, Lingam – Dayal, Ganesha – Hans Kaushik, Ding Dong – Krishna, Kaarpadigan – Bagala, Raja of Sivapura – E. Kumaravel, Periya Erumai – Haaris Moosa, Chinna Erumai – Socrates, Gajalakshmi – Priyamvadha Narasimhan, Godavari – Devika, Godandam – Ranjit, Minister – Kumar
Sets: Hans Kaushik, Lights: Dr. T. Bala, Adaptation: Ruban .J., Music: Pralayan, Choreography: M.Pasupathy, Direction: Hans Kaushik
Actors’ workshop production. In association with Alliance Francaise of Madras.
Fragments of The Bell Jar (adapted from the novel ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath) in English/Dir. Pravin. In association with Alliance Française of Madras.
Galileo Galilei (by Bertolt Brecht) in Tamil/Dir. Dr. Mu. Ramaswamy. Madras.
2000: Drrr. Naak (‘Knock ou le triomphe de la medecine’ by Jules Romain) in Tamil/. Dir.M.Ramasami. In association with Alliance Française of Madras.
1998 : Mashalli Mohalla (created by Magic Lantern) in English/Dir. Pravin
1998 : Vesham (a video film of the village tour of Veshakkaran) in Tamil/ Dir.Rajiv Krishnan
1997 : Jeremy (‘Ou vas-tu, Jeremie?’ by P. Minyana) in Tamil/Dir.Pravin. In association with Alliance Française of Madras.
1995 : Fables/The Fabulous Feast (created by Magic Lantern) a play for children; in Tamil and English/Dir.Pravin. Sponsored by CRY.
1994 : Caligula (by A.Camus) produced for Koothu-p-Pattarai by Magic Lantern/Dir.Pravin
Wings and Masks (a solo contemporary dance)/Chor.Padmini Chettur. Dir.Pravin
1993 : Pinocchio (adapted from C.Collodi) based on child labour; in Tamil/Dir.Pravin. Sponsored by CRY.
2005 : The Magic Lantern Summer Festival, featuring 15 shows and two week- long workshops over a span of 15 days, at Top Storey. In association withAlliance Francaise de Madras
Perchance To Dream (created and performed by Footsbarn Travelling Theatre, France) for Prithvi Theatre Festival, Mumbai/Chennai producer, featuring 2 shows and a workshop, at Buck’s Theatre, YMCA, Nandanam. Sponsored by Hutch.
Prithvi Theatre Festival, Mumbai, in Chennai, featuring 8 films, a theatre workshop, an exhibition of posters and photos, 2 talks, and a theatre
Production from France, over a span of 6 days, at Top Storey and YMCA Nandanam. Sponsored by Hutch.
2000 : Erandayarithil Oruvan (Popular music show) for Funky Bodhi/Dir.Pravin, at the Football Stadium, IIT. Sponsored by Colgate.
Salangai Naatham Cultural Festival – Programming conception, venue design, lighting Design and execution/for SZCC, Thanjavur, at Thanjavur Palace Grounds.
2003 Travelogue (A series of lectures) :
December 19 Travelogue Review of the Year
November 21 Suresh Krishna - CEO Sundaram Fasteners
October 17 Chandralekha - Choreographer
September 19 Dr. C V Seshadri - Director Chennai Mathematical
August 22 Gita Wolf - Tara Publishing
July 18 Jean-Francois Lesage - Vastralaya
June 20 Mr. Sahoo - Calcutta Paan Walla
May 23 Dr. V Shantha - Founder Chennai Cancer Institute Institute
April 25 Karaikudi Subramanian - Brhaddwani
March 21 M B Nirmal – Founder, Exnora
February 21 S. Muthiah – Historian/Journalist
January 24 Padmasree Thota Tharani – Art Director
April 19-29 Benitha Perciyal - installation
2003 : November 10-22 Prasanna Kumar - photography
October 9-14 Natesh - installation
October 16-31 Saravanan & Mahesh - photography
September 15-25 Pravin - painting
August 21-31 Venketram - photography
July 4-14 Siva - painting
2004 : May 14-16 Rajaravivarma - An Actor’s Chaos
Jan 30-1 Feb Prasad - Aravaan
January 10 Purisai Kannapar Thambiran Theru-k-koothu - Manram - Bali Vadham
January 9 Kerala Kalamandalam - Vaali Vadhom
2003 : February 24 Kattru-therndavargal & Snake - Kumari Rani
Meena Muthiah Matriculation School
February 23 Antigone - Dr. MGR Janaki College
February 22 Minnal Ravi – Magic Lantern
2003 : August 8 Oikyotaan
2005 : November 19 Josef Nadj – Les Temps du Repli
2003 : September 12,13 Padmini Chettur – 3 Solos
Productions for educational institutes:
For Chettinad Vidyashram
2013: Chakravyuha (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2012: Sundarakandam (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2011: Krishna – soul seeker (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2010: Raghuvamsa (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2009: Kurukshetra (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2008: Ravana (Na. Muthuswamy) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2007: Bheeshma (By E. Kumaravel/ Deepika Kumaravel) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2006: Vali Vadam: (By E. Kumaravel/ Priyamvada) Dir. J. Jayakumar
2005: Karna – The eternal warrior (by V. Balakrishnan) in English/Dir J. Jayakumar
For MGR/Janaki College
The Good Person of Mandova (adapted from ‘The Good Woman Szechuan’ by Bertoldt Brecht) in English/Dir. Pravin
Samba Siva – a farce (by Chandrasekhara Kambar) in English /Dir. Hans Kaushik
Antigone (by Sophocles) in Tamil/Dir J. Jayakumar
For Women’s Christian College (WCC)
2004 : The Hypochondriack (‘Le Malade Imaginaire’ by Moliere) in English/Dir. Pravin
Some other Workshops
2004 : February 23-28 Video Documentaries on Contemporary Dance Courses conducted
2003 : Padmini Chettur - Dance
June 2-8 Kaveri Bharath - Pottery
May 23-29 Gauthier – Jugglery