A terrace turns right into a stage for a bunch of shadow puppeteers in Salem, who, for the primary time of their 50 years of theatre, stream a play dwell on Fb
There was new power about Mu Harikrishnan’s terrace.
Within the village of Yervadi close to Salem that night, over half a dozen shadow puppetry artisans and musicians moved about busily, giving last touches to their stage.
They’d labored on this for 2 days. Leather-based puppets have been dusted — they’d been losing away for 3 months because of the lockdown — and lights have been arrange.
Gamers of devices comparable to mugaveenai, mridangam, harmonium, and kai thalam took their locations, and the legendary ‘Ammapettai’ Ganesan, the soothradhari who manoeuvers the strings and is the voice of the lead characters, took his place.
At 6 pm sharp on June 21, they went dwell on Fb for the primary time ever.
“We had over 600 individuals viewing the present,” says Harikrishnan, who put all of it collectively. The 46-year-old, who has been organising therukoothu, thorpaavai koothu and marapaavai koothu (avenue theatre, shadow and string puppetry) exhibits for 15 years in Tamil Nadu, had put out an invitation on social media per week forward, asserting the present.
He additionally included a clause that mentioned that these can donate ₹100 per head. “Round 40 individuals despatched us donations,” factors out Harikrishnan, including that he was pleased that he was capable of pay no less than one thing to the artisans; each little bit of encouragement is valuable in these instances.
Streets to screens
Harikrishnan is from a household of avenue theatre artistes — his father was into the artwork and so was his grandfather. “The previous few months have been powerful on us. We belong to the crowds — temple festivals, funerals and different occasions the place individuals collect — for whom we carry out koothu, typically for eight hours at a stretch.”
With the lockdown forcing his viewers to remain indoors, Harikrishnan determined that they wanted to discover a solution to take exhibits to them. “We have now no selection however to adapt; the state of affairs is such,” he says.
Whereas Harikrishnan, who additionally writes on avenue theatre artistes of the Kongu area, wished to search out another supply of revenue for koothu artistes, he additionally wished to ensure that the artwork kind was continuously in public view. “That is necessary for the language in addition to the humanities. Provided that they’re in use always, will they survive in the long term,” he explains. “Whether or not there may be famine or battle, artwork ought to proceed to do its job. We’ve had some nice literature throughout a few of our worst wars.”
Their exhibits are primarily based on the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For his or her first Fb dwell, they selected to do ‘Hanuman Thoodhu’, through which Hanuman goes to fulfill Sita who’s being held captive by Ravana. The content material, explains Harikrishnan, needed to be tweaked for the net house, and lower down to at least one hour.
Among the many greatest issues the expertise gave them, are the various perks that include know-how. For the primary time, 64-year-old ‘Ammapettai’ Ganesan, who has been performing for greater than 50 years, was capable of hear his voice clearly throughout and after the present.
“Normally, whereas koothu is on, the performers hardly hear their very own singing. There’s a whole lot of crowd and disturbance,” explains Harikrishnan. However now, he was capable of file and playback Ganesan his efficiency. “He was thrilled,” he provides.
Harikrishnan is busy planning a conventional string puppet present now. He realises that getting the artistes to collect on his terrace — they’re unfold in numerous villages in and round Salem — and convincing them to do quick codecs, is a mammoth job. “That is what I believed once I deliberate our first present,” he says. “It was not straightforward. We made errors; tempers ran excessive; we even bought into fist fights, shirts have been torn…” he chuckles. “However in the long run, we did it.”
Harikrishnan , by way of the Kalari Heritage and Charitable Belief that he based, plans to stream exhibits on-line each week from his terrace. For particulars, comply with him on Fb/Mu Harikrishnan, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.