Theatre: Indian Epic Romanced Audience With Bharatanatyam & Ballet

DURBAN:  The Playhouse was on fire (hold that thought, it had nothing to do with the #FeesMustFall campaign or the Madurai fire). It was lit up by Sivani Chinnapen’s modern day, light and trendy, but power packed adaptation of the epic Kannagi Kovalan.

kannagi kovalan

This dance drama was inspired by the epic Tamil literary work Silapadikkaram’s Kannagi Kovalan and tweaked to appeal to the local audience. The production itself was magnanimous and included all elements of a successful dance drama production. There was emotion, comedy, drama, music and dance.

The lead trio is truly talented and their involvement in previous productions and different genres of dance styles enhanced the quality of the production and their execution in their specific roles. Sivani moulded herself into the role of Kannagi and proved that she is an artist of note.

Well, the thing is she is the daughter of the drama king himself, Saiva Pullavar K. Chinnapan and I wouldn’t have expected anything less of her. Sivani is also an accomplished performer on the national theatre circuit. She was able to emote all rasas (facial expressions), enabling the audience to understand each situation/scene.

Logasen Moodley is another brilliant actor and dancer who added immense value to the production. He is daring and not shy to attempt different roles.

And the darling Thashreiya Phillips in the role as Madhavi was outstanding. Her combination of Bharathanatyam and Ballet gave power packed performances. Also worthy of a mention is Mr. K Chinnapen who played the Pandya King and Manimagalai Moodley who played the mother role. I last saw Mr. Chinnapen acting in his productions of Harichandra and Illango Adigal in 1986. An excellent comeback!

The rest of the supporting cast did a superb job and wowed the audience. The success of the production often depends on the reaction and interaction with the audience and last night the audience was enthralled. The auditorium was 80% capacitated but we can attribute the 20% shortfall to Navarathri and Purtassi.

I must compliment Sivani on the choice of music that was chosen appropriately for each situation/scene. The audience loved it. It was trendy and peppy. I was also glad that she included a composition of Subramoney Bharathiar.

With some fine-tuning, Sivani has a global appealing winner. This production is worthy of a slot at theatres around the country as it provides mass appeal.  A wholesome family entertainer.

About the author

Jimmy Moodley is a cultural advocate that assists the South African Indian community with advancement of artistic skills of music, dance and stage performance.

 


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