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Maya: A grand success

Maya Fundraises for Udavum Karangal

Palo Alto, CA: On Sunday March 21, 2004, Bay Area theater group Krea Creations staged their debut production Maya at Cubberly Theater to raise funds for Udavum Karangal, a Chennai-based charitable organization. The audience comprised of over 400 members of the Bay Area Tamil community, who gave it a standing ovation as the curtains drew.

The drama opens with an ominous courtroom where a highly charged, ostensibly angry prosecutor argues that Dr. Suryaprakash did in fact kill Maya, which the defendant vehemently denies. While the case gets adjourned, the doctor requests for a meeting with the prosecutor Mrs. Abirami Devanathan. In this private meeting, he warns her that he knows something about her and has shared his secret with a friend who could come out in public anytime and ruin her career, and possibly the life of the renowned attorney. Albeit nervous and anxious, Abirami denies having anything to hide and challenges him to defend himself.

The rest of the play is a flashback. The story recounts what happened in the lives of Abirami and Suryaprakash that brought them to this courtroom, how Maya affected the lives of not just the two of them but the entire cast of five other people.

The plot revolves around fear as an integral part of each man’s life and despite the superficial strength and perseverance one may exhibit, without inner immunity against it, it can consume one’s life and bring it to an end. The protagonists – three of them – are all devices of this emotion. These characters include Maya, her psychiatrist Suryaprakash and her mother Abirami. “The title Maya not only signifies the character, although she is the pivot that everyone’s life seems to revolve around, in the play,” notes Dheepa Ramanujam, the director, who also played the title role, “It also refers to “mayai,” the illusion we live with everyday in our life – and that illusion is fear. It is not real, we believe it is there and so it is.”

The cast comprised of Dheepa Ramanujam, Jeya Ajit, Naveen Kumar Nathan, Nirmal Kumar, Prabhakar Vaidya, Rajan Varadarajan and Venu Subramaniam. Each artist had a unique role and brought life to that character. Each performer showed mastery of the script, delivered the dialogs effortlessly and displayed body language consistent with the character, situation and dialog. Lead players Ramanujam, Ajit and Varadarajan donned their respective roles very naturally – to the extent of splitting the audience into two groups, each patronizing the two conflicting entities.

Only after the curtains fell, did one realize that despite the many faces we see on stage, there is but only one member in the cast – fear. “The drama shows to what extent one can go to feed that emotion, which is like a giant monster in each of us,” says Satya Raghavan, a resident of Los Altos, “being a mother, I can totally identify with the feelings of Abirami, but being a daughter I feel for Maya.” Asked if she has fear of her own, “I am afraid I will stand in the snack line for long and return empty-handed without the Masal Vadai I love,” she laughs.

The play seeks to highlight how fear can plague and ruin one’s life – reason enough for audience to learn not to fall prey to it. An apt message to raise funds for Udavum Karangal that works towards facilitating distressed persons overcome hurdles and make progress in life. “Udavum Karangal fearlessly put their faith in us and helped us so we could in turn help them,” jokes Rajan Varadarajan, who shone as the star of the night. “We are happy to be part of Krea’s first project Maya,” says B. Vasant, volunteer with Udavum Karangal. “Bay Area has a great deal of talent and it is great for the people we serve, that groups such as Krea dedicate their efforts to a noble cause. Volunteers of Udavum Karangal worked with volunteers of Krea Creations in various ways. We helped procure the venue and on the day of the event, we offered our ‘helping hands’ backstage as well as offstage in snack sale and ticket sale.”

For more information about Krea Creations visit or call Executive Producer Venu Subramaniam at (510) 579-7541

Vinu Srivatsan
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