Creating the banks of the river Sarayu or Nallappa's Mango grove and other landscapes of Malgudi based on R.K. Narayan's imagination can be quite a complex task when the medium of expression is theatre. Packing R.K. Narayan's imagination onto a stage space can be quite challenging.
As part of the stage adaptation of Swami and Friends, R.K. Narayan's first novel, we've tried to recreate Malgudi spatially through levels, colours and by embracing the moods of the landscapes through lighting and costume. A few weeks ago, I met Arundhati Nag at Rangashankara and was telling her about the adaptation process. Ver early into the conversation, she said "If you start creating every detail of Malgudi through its props and objects, you will get lost! Just try and get the colors, moods and patterns right" This thought was motivating, given that the process had begun in trying to capture the essence of Malgudi, its colours spaces and landscapes through the body in the space.
Each of us have a unique interpretation of what Malgudi means to us. The fact that Narayan created a fictional town was so that it could be personal to the reader based on their own upbringing and childhood times. That's what still keeps Malgudi alive for us, in different ways. Narayan's writing transports us into another world, into another time and he manages to do so effortlessly. That's also what makes Malgudi so memorable.
Swami and Friends will be staged at the Jagriti Season this year, starting Oct 2nd. We invite you to come experience Malgudi.
We will be presenting R.K. Narayan's Swami and Friends as part of the Jagriti Season this year.
Oct 2 - October 11, 2015 at Jagriti Theatre, Bangalore.
About Swami and Friends
Swami and Friends is the story of a young lad named Swami and his escapades with his two close friends, Rajam and Mani. Set in late preindependence India, the story takes us through the world of charming, boyish innocence of Swami in Malgudi. With remarkable characterisation and a wonderful sense of humour, Narayan’s Swami and Friends is a delight for the old and the young.
Step into an old world charm… Step into pre-independent India… savour the experience of a small town in South India… come see a friendship like no other!
One of Narayan’s greatest achievements was to create the fictional semi-urban town of Malgudi. He created the town in September 1930, on Vijayadashami, an auspicious day to start new efforts and thus chosen for him by his grandmother. In his mind, he first saw a railway station, and slowly the name ‘Malgudi’ came to him. Step into Narayan’s Malgudi in this theatrical adaptation.
Watch this space for more. We will be sharing performance snippets and our process of performance creation.
In this blog space, we talk about performance processes, interdisciplinary practices and various ways of creating performance and engaging audiences.