Trichy; 24,April: ‘Sankaradas Swamigal was a pioneer in the history of Tamil drama, and the greatest tribute we can pay him, is to preserve his plays, and keep the traditions which he had established, alive for all time’ Mr.T.Soundiah,IAS appreciated in world drama day organized in Trichy on 23rd April 2011.Veteran theater artists, Muthuvelalagar,Ramanujam,Masthan and Arasangudi Bharthi Jothi, were honoured on World Drama Day in Trichy on 23rd April 2011 on the world drama day. Thiru.T.Soundiah, Indian Administrative service of Tamilnadu honored these drama directors and artists with Ponnadai with a purse of Rs.5000 for Trichy dramas artists association from Muthamil Kalai Panpattu Maiyam and Ponadai for their outstanding contribution over the years. On this occasion, Thiru.T.Soundiah, Indian Administrative service said’ ‘World Drama Day was created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute. It is celebrated and various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion with International Message ‘Theatre is for Culture of Peace’. Theatre activists all over the world observe World Drama Day.’ Thiru.T.Soundiah, said ‘Trichy has created many artistes, directors, playwrights, technical designers and limited middle class audience. In that sense theatre has an impact only in micro level. It has no impact at all in the macro level or the social, economical or political aspects of Trichy. Even the middle class, the main audience of theatre, is reluctant to come and enjoy theatre due to the lack of theatre halls. The consequence is that a large number of people in the city have no idea of the rich tradition of our main stream theatre. He further said ‘The Art of Theater is an interdisciplinary that takes us on a journey through many different aspects of our culture and history and tradition. Theater is an amazing way of expressing everything from feelings to Literary, historical and ethical standpoints. Mr.Soundiah quoted Nikulin “It is very important to be able to laugh and cry, to rejoice over one's own and others' victories, not to feel angry, not to envy. I dream there will one day appear a formation of kind and wise people on the Earth. Live in peace and accord and remember that every second of laughter adds a minute of life,” Mr.T.Soundiah,IAS added that the lesson tells us all about Sankaradas Swamigal, acclaimed as the Everest of Tamil Drama. He was an actor, a dramatist and a director. For more than a quarter of a century, his plays ruled the Tamil stage, unopposed and supreme.Sankaradas Swamigal, Pammal K.Sambandha Mudaliar and Paridimar Kalaignar are considered as the Trinity of Tamil Drama. These three playwrights were responsible for reviving Tamil Drama which was on the decline, and elevating it to great heights.Sankaradas Swamigal was born in 1867, in a small village near Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. He remained a bachelor all his life. He was well-versed in Tamil literature and grammar as well as music. Having served Tamil theatre for more than three decades, he passed away at the age of 55, in Pondicherry’.
Dr.K.Govindarajan,Secretary of Trichy Muthamil Kalai Panpattu Maiyam in his presidential speech said ‘Sankaradas Swamigal wrote fifty plays in all. These include Tamil translations of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Ceasar. Although all the plays which he wrote are excellent in their own way, special mention may be made of ten plays — Sathyavaan Savithri, Pavazhakkodi Charithram, Valli Thirumanam, Harichandra Mayaana Kaandam, Kovalan Charithram, Rama Ravana Yuddham, Veera Pandya Katta Bomman, Madurai Veeran, Chitraangi Vilaasam and Nala Damayanthi.Sankaradas Swamigal will be remebered not only for the roles that he acted and the plays that he wrote, but also for the innumerable disciples who thronged him. Some of them later became popular film stars. When Sankaradas Swamigal entered the field of Tamil drama, it was synonymous with Street Theatre or Therukkootthu. It was Sankaradas Swamigal who raised drama to a level of respectability, which it has enjoyed ever since. It has been a long and strenuous journey for women to get on the stage, and even to be a part of the audience. Tamil theatre history is no exception to this universal phenomenon. 'Voicing Silence', focussing on gender perspectives, is recording the voices of professional women actresses. 'Pavalakkodi' or ' Kudumba Vazhakku' is a play, to be performed in Chennai, which juxtaposes the 'off' and 'on' lives of these women. A. MANGAI writes about the fascination that the stage holds for the actresses. EVER so many histories of drama have been written over the ages all over the world, yet these histories rarely record the space of women who have been part of them. Right from Greek times, when women were not permitted in the audience, or the verdict of "Arthasastra", which codified the fine to be collected as punishment for women who had broken the rules and attended a performance, female viewing has been prohibited from the theatre area. It has been a long and strenuous journey... for women to get on to the stage; even for women to be a sizeable audience - population, or to look at the stage with a "female gaze". Tamil stage history is no exception to this universal phenomenon. Except in Bharata Natyam - a cleansed version of sadhir - and in other ritualistic ceremonies, dancing women/ women in the public sphere have not been 'respected'. Most traditional forms are still performed with an all male cast. The Eighties saw the experiment of many forms transgressing their boundaries of region, caste, ritual space and gender, thanks to the efforts of various theatre groups and art-in-education projects. It is still a big question whether women can "occupy" the space ordained by tradition in these performances. Can Tappattam, Deverattam and Theru-k-koothu be performed by women in temple rituals or as professions? Before Sankaradas Swamigal, actors and actresses were free to alter dialogues and resort to improvisation as they liked. Sankaradas Swamigal realised the need for discipline and order among the players. He streamlined dialogues, introducing humour and ethical principles wherever he could, so that the spectators would not only be entertained but also educated. It was during Sankaradas Swamigal’s time, that separate drama troupes were set up for children. It is noteworthy that the TKS brothers who later became renowned stage artistes, were first trained as child actors by Sankaradas Swamigal’.Govin