Once upon a time, schizophrenics were exorcised by holy men. Women suffering from post partum depression were labeled hysterics. Stressed out and alienated employees were called weaklings and escapists and depressed children were chastised for their laziness.
Karthik Ananth Subramaniyan’s brilliantly produced ‘Kiruku Nagaram express’ reminds us that we are not past the old days of ignorance and that there is a grave need for understanding and solidarity regarding mental health issues. “I felt that it was of extreme relevance to do a play on mental health and I wanted it to be honest and relatable” says Karthik who did an extensive research on the topic for over a year and collaborated with a team of five actors to produce the play.
“I had conversations with people who had experienced or was still experiencing various mental health issues and collated all the material to create loose storylines upon which the actors could improvise”, says Karthik. The play can happen anywhere if there is an interested audience. “Our goal was to take theatre to the people and make them a part of the creative process and so far, it has been very successful”, says Karthik who is also happy about the reception the play got at schools across the city as he had always wanted to reach out to children suffering from mental issues which are largely overlooked.
The play has been widely praised for its brilliant use of lighting and stage props and its remarkably original music compositions. The actors deliver a touching performance with their zany yet truthful characters. The play is largely improvised with clever on the spot choreography and witty dialogues.” The performance is followed by a interactive session with the audience where they can pitch in ideas to make the play better. We want our performances to be honest representations but with its own artistry.” Says Karthik.
‘Kiruku Nagaram express’ is sure to make you laugh but you take home profound insights. The play subliminally caters you with food for thought and hopefully by the end of the 85 minutes you understand people better.