Based on the short stories of a celebrated Tamil writer performed by the oldest english theater group in India.
Friday, March 30, 2018, 6:30pm
at Sri Aurobindo Auditorium, Bharat Nivas
R Chudamani was a celebrated Tamil writer, whose short stories from the late 60’s / early 70’s are brought alive on stage by the Madras Players. Chudamani wrote more than 500 short stories in her lifetime. Like O Henry and Saki, she had the wonderful gift of bringing alive the short story in just a few pages, yet with a wealth of detail, description and definitive denouement. She filled her stories with characters one could empathise with, many of them drawn from middle class orthodoxy, but still expressing themselves with conviction and a surprising modernity, reflecting Chudamani’s own evolved vision. They color a canvas from teenagers and new brides to men and women in the throes of life’s conflicts—-all portrayed with rare sensitivity and understanding, amazing for a woman known to be reclusive in nature, and who spent most of her life writing in a small room, looking out at a Nagalingam tree through her window.
The Madras Players will be presenting the following seven short stories in their play.
1. A Trace of Envy: An old man looking to get his aging daughter married and confronted with societal pressures
2. He Came as a Guest: A young woman—married to a man many years her senior —experiencing a sudden attraction to a young visitor; momentary in nature and supported by an understanding husband
3. The Visitor: A young widow being proposed to by her daughter’s prospective suitor, faces with shock yet feels momentarily happy with a sense of pride
4. Seeing in the Dark: The daughter faces a dilemma of wanting to look after her blind father, the sole parent and wanting to marry and lead a life of her own. Father finding out about his single daughter having an affair
5. The Fourth Stage of Life: Two ex-husbands of a woman discussing her life and choices after her death; woman seeking the ultimate. The four phases that a man undergoes in his life as compared to a women‟s life is discussed in “Nangam Ashram” the fourth stage of life.
6. Tirumanjanam: A priest’s young, widowed daughter wanting to adopt a low caste Panchama boy; and the conversation between the father and daughter on God and Divinity that leads to a transformation.
7. The Image: The young Meenakshi, at the threshold of an arranged marriage, struggling to find her identity.
All these characters come alive in “Chudamani”.
Chudamani is a character in the play herself, playing different roles in different stories—listening, observing, acting, narrating, being the inner voice, being an invisible friend and catalyst—she weaves the seven stories into one seamless fabric.