The works of playwright Ramu Ramanathan are in the limelight for the third episode of the Atelier Performance Series. The Delhi-based theatre group,Atelier Repertory,does an annual retrospective on famous artists or performers,through plays,workshops and talks. The performance series was conceptualised in 2011,with a focus on Tagore and Badal Sircar in 2012. We create a series of events around an artists corpus of work so that the audience can learn about them through our performances, says Kuljeet Singh,the curator.
As part of their research,the team at Atelier read up 3 Sakina Manzil and Other Plays,a collection of eight plays,by Mumbai-based Ramanthan. They chose two plays,Curfew and Collaborators to be performed in the Capital on October 16 and 17 respectively. Ramanathan will also take a workshop,and give a talk on the merging of politics and theatre. He is currently touring the country with his latest play Comrade Kumbhakaran. Its the story of an impoverished touring street theatre group that performs Ramleelas. The political backdrop to the play is aided with connotations to the Black Shirts Movement started by Periyar E V Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu. In the past two years,we had chosen older artists for our series,but this time we wanted to focus on someone contemporary, says Singh,who had also contemplated Girish Karnad for this years festival. Ramanathans plays are fascinating and political at the same time. They remind me of Camus and Beckett in their themes, he says.