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Tamil Theater

Tamil Theater Showcases Unique Family Drama

When the curtain rises on Sunday May 11th at 4 pm at CET Performing Arts Center in San Jose, Bay Area Tamil Manram and associated artists will bring an evening of theatrical creativity to its audience through Thanimai (Solitude), a unique family drama written by Anand Raghav of Bangkok and directed by Dheepa Ramanujam.
Raghav is an award-winning author for various Tamil publications. This is his third play presented to the Bay Area Tamil audience. His recent work Punnagai Bhoomi, a research on the influence of Hindu culture in Thailand, published by Kalki has been well acclaimed by the Tamil literary circle.

“His story inspires us to put our heart and soul into the character,” says Kanaka Guruprasath, “his depiction of my role in the drama is so realistic I find it difficult to get out of those shoes and back into mine when I return home from rehearsals.” Srikanth Srinivasa agrees. “It is a story that takes place in every home, but presented in a totally new perspective,” he observes. Guruprasath and Srinivasa are co-hosts of Mostly Tamil, a weekly live Tamil radio program aired from Stanford University.

Thanimai is the fifth drama directed by Ramanujam for the Bay Area audience. Disciple of renowned directors K.Balachander and Bombay Gnanam, she has acted in many tele-serials such as Premi, Sundaravanam and Meendum Kuttichathan. Through this drama she seeks to bring out the best of Bay Area’s creative talent. “It is a platform for amateurs to grow and develop their interest in a fun atmosphere,” she laughs, “I hope they are having fun!”

The action began in late February when the artists began by meeting on weekends. They now meet three to four times a week and supplement in-person rehearsals with telephone and online conferences. “We started as acquaintances and are now friends and teammates – partners in crime,” reflects Venu Subramaniam, production manager, who also acts in the play.

The drama has given opportunity to those with and without experience on stage. Naveen Kumar Nathan, who is acting in a full-fledged drama for the first time, says, “I had seen Raghav and Dheepa’s dramas and other plays too and always wanted to act in one.

So when the call for audition came, I sprang into action. I think there is talent in each of us. We just need commitment and conviction – in ourselves and in the team.” Nathan is also a co-host of Mostly Tamil.

11-year old Girish Swaminath who manages to take on this responsibility along with those of the pressures of being a 5th grader in a private school feels that this will make him an all-rounder. He also trains in Carnatic music, tennis and soccer.

There are more than fifteen artists performing various roles in the play. And then there are backstage and offstage crews as well. The team is now brainstorming to find an identity for itself in a name. “We want to entertain Tamil audience everywhere in the country, in the process taking them through time and space to ‘back home’,” says Ramanujam. “In order to be the reliable vehicle that transports them from the worries of real life to the wondrous life portrayed by theater … we are working towards establishing a more organized team,” she adds.

(For more information or to attend the drama, visit Bay Area Tamil Manram)

Vinu Srivatsan


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