I have to admit it. I was skeptical to go to play. I have been to plays which promised a lot, and all I got was silly jokes one after another to choke me out. When Chennai Bloggers Club stalwarts like Salesh, Gokulane, Megha and Mahesh decided to go, I thought I would go too. The play was Koko – A Pantomime in Tamil. From the start of the Pantomime, we were captivated by the creativity of the team. The story begins with the struggle of a hen named Jikki to lay an egg. She escapes crocodile mouth, sprinters and believes me we saw all these on stage and not a screen.
When she manages to lay the egg, I expected the story to lag a bit but the innovative approach to convey the story hooked us. It was mesmerizing to see the way they managed to show how life evolves from egg yolk. I may be doing a gross injustice to the actors. Except for the bright yellow costume worn by him, Vikas almost convinced everybody in the auditorium that he has multiple personality disorder and the other life he leads is Jikki, the hen. The body language didn’t slip for a second, and he expressed a lot without a single dialogue. To achieve that in a stage play is something tough I guess.
The trio who help Jikki to lay and take care of the eggs Naresh, Siddharth and Sujay did an excellent job too. They gave the comic relief to the play and massive complex to 30+ age group guys like me in the audience with their flexibility. They jump around as if they are walking on a road, juggle balls and hang upside down in ropes. Sujay has soothing voice of all, and the director had used it wonderfully. Mind you; I am just telling you how the first half was. Then the egg breaks and Koko the hen comes out. The play became one-woman show from that point.
Subhashree Parthasarathy, who played Koko, the hen stole the show from the moment she entered the scene. I don’t know whether it was the production values or if they had prisoned the lady in a decent sized eggshell in stage throughout the first half. The story then proceeds to see how Jikki want her daughter to be best in everything and enrolling her in different classes and tuitions thereby killing her childhood. The play ends in a win-win situation. As I had already said, Subhashree Parthasarathy’s body language, dialogue delivery and her flexibility (she was squatting, jumping, running throughout the show) made the audience go wow. In addition to that, she also wrote a soul stirring song which adds great depth to the story.
There were two places the play stood out. The innovative idea to use the projection technique to show how life is formed inside the egg while not disturbing the things that were happening in the play was applause worthy. Hats off to the mind who thought of that.
Second, the inter-cut in the final scene where the mother describes her anguish and the daughter explaining her helplessness came out beautifully. It was like watching a movie on the stage. The co-ordination and timing of the actors deserve a special mention.
With a little bit of Harry Potter Reference and bit of Jungle book Reference, the group quickly related to the twenty and thirty somethings in the crowd. Can’t say the same for the kids. The director stated that he is going to stage the show in a lot of schools. It would be a great idea not just to give a social commentary and moral lessons. But I sincerely hope, the students take an interest in such art forms and seek guidance from such groups.
If you see this poster next time in your social media feed or newspaper, don’t think twice. Just book the tickets. It is one and half hours of fun, creativity and brilliant story telling.