Confluence of music and theatre

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | JANANI K
Published Aug 28, 2017, 12:15 am IST
Updated Aug 28, 2017, 12:15 am IST
Anuradha Menon and Roopa Mahadevan talk about their upcoming performance at The Park’s New Festival.
Rohan, Roopa Mahadevan, Anjna and Guy Mintus.
 Rohan, Roopa Mahadevan, Anjna and Guy Mintus.

Celebrating the 11th edition of The Park’s New Festival, the luxury boutique hotel brings fascinating acts by celebrated artistes Anuradha Menon, Roopa Mahadevan and Surjit Nongmeikpam. The festival, which will celebrate theatre, music and dance, will be held across six cities — Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru throughout September. 

All set to entice the audience with a 45-minute monologue is the renowned television anchor and actress Anuradha Menon. The  drama, Take 35, is her first attempt in writing and she is excited about how it has panned out. “I do stand-up comedy and I generally avoid writing. When this opportunity came up, I thought I’d screw up, but I somehow managed to pen the story that portrays the struggle of a child actor, who hasn’t quite made it in adulthood. We have all seen several child actors who have grown up to do lead roles, but people still remember them for their younger roles. Since I’m living in Mumbai, I come across several aspiring child actors, who are put under tremendous pressure by their parents and directors. I thought it would be an interesting premise to write about,” she began her  conversation. 

Anuradha, who plays the lead in Take 35, states that juggling acting and writing was challenging. “I believe that everything has a constant process of evolution. I’ve penned the story with the stuff I’ve seen and I also discussed it with the director of the play. We may tweak it seeing the response. I liked the process of writing and let’s see how this goes,” she discloses. 

On the other hand, Roopa Mahadevan, with her crew, will come out with a classical performance. “It feels great to be back in Chennai. In terms of this show, to be able to perform a new kind of repertoire that some folks in Chennai may not have heard before presents an exciting opportunity. We have songs belonging to R&B, soul, jazz, experimental, Carnatic, light classical for the crowd,” she explains.

Having grown up in the US, Roopa is exposed to American music as well and is also trained in Bharatanatyam. The musician adds that there are differences when you perform in India and in the UK. Elaborating on it, she reveals, “We can sing the same repertoire, but audiences may not react the same way. We have to learn to not expect those kinds of cues you get in India. You are also forced to think about things like — what would ‘good music’ mean to a listener who hasn’t heard a ton of Carnatic music? What kind of musical elements are universal? These are questions we don’t have to think about necessarily in a sabha kutcheri in Chennai. I actually like the challenge of presenting to a new audience. I think to get rid of the elitism and narrow-mindedness of our music, we must think about the universality of the way we sing and the songs we choose. I see it as a social justice project in some ways, actually.”

(The festival will be held from September 1  to 3 at The Park and Spaces at 7 pm)





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