PERCH, CHENNAI PRESENTS
UNDER THE MANGOSTEEN TREE –
A PLAY IN ENGLISH
(BASED ON THE SHORT STORIES OF VAIKOM MUHAMMAD BASHEER)
PLAY DURATION: 1 HR 50 MIN (PLUS 10 MIN INTERVAL)
About the Play
‘Under the Mangosteen Tree’ is an adventurous mix of seven stories by the great Malayalam writer Basheer, all very different, but with a common vein of love, humour and pathos running through them. A connecting link in this heady concoction is the character of Basheer himself, who plays narrator, participant and witness in turn. These stories are blended together in a non-linear yet seamless narrative that reveals the extraordinary range of Basheer’s writing and experiences.
The stories in this play are Poovan Banana (Poovan Pazham), The Blue Light (Neela Velicham), Walls (Mathilukal), Voices (Shabdangal), The World Renowned Nose (Viswavikhayatamaya Mookku) and The Man (Oru Manushyan).
CAST : Paul Mathew, Iswar Srikumar, Aparna Gopinath, Rency Philip, Anand Sami, Ravindra Vijay, Ashiqa Salvan.
Set, Props & Lighting: Kalpana Balaji and John Mathew
Costumes: Kaveri Lalchand
Music Design: Vedanth Bharadwaj and Anushka Meenakshi
Music Operation: Anushka Meenakshi
Stage Manager: Karuna Amarnath
Production: Niren Saldanha
Direction: Rajiv Krishnan
Perch’s Journey – 10 years with Basheer Perch’s journey with Basheer’s stories began in 2004, when the play ‘Moonshine and Skytoffee’ was staged. This play was a combination of two of Basheer’s love stories , both humourous, and with an interesting twist at the end. In 2008, Perch organized a 3 week long festival called ‘Under the Mangosteen Tree – 100 years of Basheer’ in Chennai to commemorate Basheer’s centenary year. The festival included a literary symposium , film screenings, photo exhibition, food festival and music concert and 2 plays were staged – ‘Moonshine and Skytoffee’ was revived and a new play ‘Sangathi Arinhya!(Have you heard!)’ (which has now become ‘Under the Mangosteen Tree’) was premiered. Since then the Basheer plays have toured extensively, to Rangashankara and Jagriti Theatre, Bangalore, ‘The 100 years of Basheer’ Festival organised by the Mathrubhumi Group in Kozhikode in 2008, The National Theatre Festival organized by The National School of Drama in New Delhi and by the Govt. of Kerala in Thiruvanathapuram in 2009, Ninasam in Heggodu, Rangayana in Mysore, Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai and other venues.
Sangathi Arinhya! (Have you heard!) was revived by Perch under a new name, ‘Under the Mangosteen Tree’, and staged as part of the Season 2014 at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield, Bangalore, from October 3-12, 2014.
VAIKOM MUHAMMAD BASHEER Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (1908 – 1994) was a humanist, freedom-fighter, novelist and short story writer. He is widely regarded as one of India’s most widely loved and admired writers on account of his superlative wit and originality. He revolutionized Malayalam literature by challenging the literary convention of writing in Sanskritized Malayalam, and was a trend-setter for many outstanding writers who followed. Basheer started writing short stories in 1937. Childhood Friend (Balyakalasakhi, 1944), a simple story of love, friendship and tragedy, earned him iconic status, and was followed by Me Granddad ‘ad an Elephant (Ntuppuppakkoraanentarnnu, 1951), The English translation of which, by R.E. Asher of Edinburgh University, won worldwide acclaim. Basheer’s writings are characterized by a variety of theme and tone and are peopled with characters drawn from his own Moplah Muslim milieu and diverse backgrounds, whom he depicts in a manner that creates a strange combination of laughter and tears within the reader. Walls (Mathilukal, 1955) is another great novella by Basheer, which was made into an award winning motion picture by the renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The Indian government recognized his contributions to Malayalam literature by awarding him the prestigious Padmashri in 1982. he has also been the recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi fellowship, Lalithambika Antharjanam and Prem Nazir awards, The Vallathol Puraskaram, Muttathu Varki award and the Jeddah Arangu award.
Perch is an active theatre group based in Chennai. The idea of Perch came into being in 2006 when it organised a fortnight long festival called ‘Angloscapes’ that focused on the Anglo-Indian community and included a play, a food festival, film screenings, a photo exhibition and a music concert. Perch was formally registered as a society in 2008. Perch’s plays include ‘… And Sunshine Follows The Rain’ (adapted from ‘The Glass Menagerie’ by Tennessee Williams) ’, ‘Sangathi Arinhya! (have you heard!)’ and ‘Moonshine and Skytoffee’ (both created from the short stories of the Malayalam writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer), ‘’Miss Meena’ (inspired by ‘The Visit’ by Friedrich Durrenmatt), ‘Kira Kozhambu’ (created from ‘folk tales of Tamilnadu by Ki. Rajanarayanan’), ‘Jujubee’, a play for children, ‘Vyabaramayanam’, a play on ideas in Tamil, ‘How to Skin a Giraffe’ (Inspired by ‘Leonce and Lena’ by Georg Buchner) and ‘Cheruvannur Diaries – Typewriter Tales’, most of which have been staged widely both at festivals and other venues.
For many more details about our journey with Basheer, go to https://perchblogs.wordpress.com/ perch
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