Friday, February 3, 2017

Play: Madhyamavyayogam   
Playwright: Mahavaki Bhasa
Director: Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Group: Sopanam, Thiruvananthapuram
Language: Sanskrit
Duration: 1hr 30 min

The Play
The central point of the play is the word ‘Madhyama’ (the middle one), applied to both Bhima- the Madhyama Pandava, and the Madhyama, the second of the three sons of a Brahmin. The old Brahmin, his wife and three sons are pursued by Ghatotkacha, son of Bhima born of demoness Hidimba. Ghatotkacha has been sent by his mother Hidimba to get her a human being for breakfast. The distressed father clings to the eldest son and the bereaved mother to the youngest son. Therefore, the second son Madhyama offers to go with Ghatotkacha. Madhyama goes to a nearby pond to quench his thirst, as he does not return, the impatient Ghatotkacha calls out, ‘Madhyama! Come soon’. Hearing his name Bhima, who is nearby, comes to the spot. Bhima learns that Ghatotkacha is his own son and offers himself in place of the Brahmin’s second son. They go to Hidimba’s dwelling. Hidimba is overjoyed to see Bhima and asks her son, Ghatotkacha to fall at his feet. A happy reunion follows.

Director's Note
The image of middle-ness is effectively used to represent the innate modesty, courage and suffering of Bhima. But it is equally applicable to the second son of the Brahmin family also. The master stroke of Bhasa’s quality of humor justifies the saying about the ‘hasa’ of ‘Bhasa’. The structure of the play is designed in such a way that the position of Hidimba as Sutradhara is divulged only at the last moment leading to the unexpected meeting between the long separated husband and wife. The humor that is Bhasa’s forte reaches its height when the father finds out the identity of his son and decides to hold on to the information.

The Director
Poet, playwright, theatre-director, writer, musician, lyricist, Shri Kavalam Narayana Panikkar (1928 - 2016) was a multi-faceted legend. As a leading exponent of the traditional and folk theatre, Panikkar is revered greatly for his successful productions of the traditional Sanskrit plays. His signature directorial ventures include Mahavaki Bhasa’s Madhyamavyayogam, Karnabharam, Urubhangam, all the three plays of Mahakavi Kalidasa viz. Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimithram and Vikramorvashiyam,  Panikkar’s own plays in Malayalam like Avanavankadamba, Ottayan, Theyya Theyyam, Kallurutty and Hindi productions like Uttara Rama Charitham and Sangamaneeyam. Honoured with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, his contributions to the field of art brought him many other awards including the Nandikar Award, Kalidas Samman, Vallathol Puraskar and Bharatmuni Samman.

The Group
Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts and Research Centre (established in 1964) has inherited the great legacy of its founder director Shri Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. The team is committed to the promotion of Indian theatre, Sanskrit plays, Sopana Sangeetham, Mohiniattam, contemporary recreations of classical plays, dramatization of poems, folk songs, folk tales and performance of new plays. Daivathar, Avanavankadamba, Theyya Theyyam, Kallurutty are a few popular Malayalam plays of Sopanam. Besides, the group has also produced many Sanskrit plays like Urubhangam, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Karnabharam, Dootvakyam, Madhyama Vyayogam, as well as Hindi plays like Uttara Rama Charitham and Sangamaneeyam.
Sopanam conducts training workshops and academic programmes for youth and children, offering courses in theatre acting, music and Mohiniattam. The group has participated in several prestigious theatre festivals in India and abroad.

Cast & Credits
Ghatotkacha                                           Gireesh V
Bheema                                                  Biju Kumar
Brahmana                                               Sajikumar Sl
Brahmini                                                Keerthana Ravi
Pradhama                                               Sreekant Sankar S U
Madhyama                                             Raghunathan
Kanishta                                                 Praveen C P
Hidimba                                                 Mohini Vinayan
Suthradharan                                          Monikanton
Group                                                                                                                    Santhosh N M,

Vaditram                                                Ramdas K, Maneksha K S
Keyboard                                               Sabu K N
Lighting                                                 Sreekanth Nair, Komalan Nair G
Costume Design                                     G. Aravindan
Costume Execution                                Murali Chandran
Stage Management                                Krishnakumar Menon
Co-ordination                                         Kalyani Krishnan
Team Management                                 Sarada Panikkar

Playwright                                           Mahakavi Bhasa
Design & Direction                              Kavalam Narayana Panikkar

Ms. Kalyani Krishnan,
Secretary, Sopanam,
Tagore Road,
Aramada Post,
Thiruvananthapuram – 695032
M: +91 9447024461


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