With climate change becoming increasingly evident, the concerns surrounding water resources cease to diminish.
Water, a play written by Komal Swaminathan, depicts the fate of a people whose concerns are bound to multiply with the ongoing changes around us.
The play, directed by P.C. Ram, was presented on September 27, 2019 at Chennai’s Museum Theatre. Incidentally, Ram also celebrated his 50th year in theatre this year.
The village of Athipatti, in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, have been witnessing a drought for over five years. Farmers and the rest of the residents, as a result, have learnt to adapt to a situation that bars them from bathing or even cultivation. One day, a stranger named Vellaichamy visits the village and begs the elders to permit him a night’s stay at the village. Curious to know more about him, one of the village elders, Vaithilingam – a school teacher, confronts Vellaichamy about his background and the stranger confesses his life’s story. The tables turn when the stranger offers to help the village resolve its water crisis. From bringing water from a well, with the help of a cart built my the villagers; to proposing a canal for the village, Vellaichamy’s ideas are lauded by the residents. However, each of these methods were short-lived and so was the joy in the village.
Good and bad
The play was an example of a little saying a lot. From the costumes and sets to the dialogues and characters; everything seemed to have fallen in place. The audience could also associate themselves with various characters of the play. Moreover, the performances by the veteran artists – like D. Ramachandran, P.C. Ram, Shankar – had kept the everybody glued to their seats.
Then again, a prop or two could have made the presentation more believable. Despite hearing the sounds of a water cart, it was unfortunate the actor had to make-believe. Perhaps a model of the object, made from cardboard of thermocol, would have made up for this space between characters and the context.
Takeaway: Worth a watch and relevant even today!
The photographs were shot using a Nikon D300 with a 24-85mm VR lens