Meenakshi: Retelling the story of the Princess of Lanka
“Long long time ago in a faraway land, lived a beautiful, fish-eyed Princess.” ‘Meensiakhonwali Meenakshi’
For a modern audience, the theatre may sound like an artsy affair, but when the story told on the stage is so much relevant to the contemporary world, the theatre can become the best medium to convey the message to the audience, by reaching them directly. Prism Theatre’s, recent production, a Musical Fantasy Play named “MEENAKSHI” was a successful demonstration of the human dilemma and quandary presented through lucid storytelling and modern theatrical tools. Meenakshi is a re-telling of the story of the feisty rebellious, the infamous SURPANAKHA from the greatest Indian epic of all times ‘The Ramayana’.
Prism is a newly established theatre group formed on 26th august 2016 bringing together serious theatre workers and performing artists who aim to create qualitative, aesthetically innovative and socially relevant pieces of work. The group aims to indulge in progressive work and take up contemporary issues to underline the contour of our time while providing the best of entertainment. The theatre debuted with its production ‘Meenakshi’, which was staged on 3rd October at Rabindra Bhawan. The engaging performance of the artists evoked a sense of awe among the audience.
The play designed & directed by Irin Shabnam, thematically was based on the negative impact of the vices and follies that mark human behavior. It focused on the idea of overcoming evil with goodness in the most sensible and relevant way. The play was set with a contemporary overtone, experimenting with the psychologies of the characters. The most recent techniques were used and yet an authentic taste was retained.
Though the play was based on ‘MEENAKSHI’, ‘SITA’ was glorified as the hero of the play. When our society talks about “good over evil” they highlight RAM killing RAVAN but none talks about how Sita reformed SURPANAKHA BACK TO MEENAKSHI. Women contribution is often neglected, but the play celebrated HER story.
Meenakshi, through its lucid storytelling, looked to address serious moral and ethical concerns. The team of Prism Theatre believes, that immorality and unethical temperament of individuals lead to a chaotic and disturbed society. They are the actual root of every single evil action that prevails in our society. Thus the play wished to serve the audience with a mirror which reflects this social truth and shall make audience morally aware.
Moreover, the play was specially designed to attract the youth, since the upcoming generation is somewhat oblivious to the theatrical heritage and it has diminished the status of theatre to a dying art form. This play is was their attempt to create qualitative art and add their contribution to propagate and uplift the status of theatre in the society.
Prism Theatre brings in a band of young storytellers, who strive to create magic onstage and tell the stories which are left untold. They dare to explore the unexplored and bring out to our audiences something new.
alking to TWG team Irin Shabnam adds “Who doesn’t know about Ravan Sita Surpanakha? These figures are the most popular among the Indian masses. But we are presenting them not as mythological figures but as fantasy characters. We tell the story of an antagonist, but with her flaws. We neither sympathize nor glorify her vices and follies but we present how she lives with them, deals with them and overcomes them.
We break stereotypes, so does our characters.
The concept of hero is re-defined.
The idea of ‘victory of good over evil’ is re-explored”.
Musical theatre is extremely popular, but Prism experimented with this form and instead of using song and lyrics they incorporated vocal sounds, poems, and chants. They attempted to combine acting along with physical theater and, various dance and martial art forms to enact the story in the most entertaining and artistic way.