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Theatremaker and Founder, Manalmagudi Theatre Land

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Date & Time

Sun, 31 Oct 2021 Mon, 1 Nov 2021


Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

Duration:130 minutes | Language: Tamil

Actors emerge in different forms and shape, taking us back to an earlier civilisation, when people were searching for ways of survival.

Not tied to any specific incident in history, the play highlights the slavery and drudgery faced by migrants and nomads across civilisations. There is a reference to the SIAM death railway where lakhs of workers left Southern India, to build this railway connecting Burma and Thailand, under the supervision of the Japanese Government. Thousands of Indians are still in unmarked mass graves along the railway and campsites, forgotten by the Governments of India, Britain and Japan.

The performance opens up the horror and wrath of the wandering souls along railway tracks. Voices of three young girls, demanding for toys from their ancestors, becomes the central theme of the play. The toys and dolls act as a metaphor for a lost lifetime that is spent waiting, yearning to find a sense of belonging. With Boopathy’s unique touch of music and puppetry, the play leaves us feeling haunted by arresting visuals and lamentations, resonant with the plight of migrant workers during the pandemic.

About the Company:

Manalmagudi Theatre Land, based out of Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu, India is a contemporary non-conventional Tamil theatre troupe that continuously experiments with theatrical content and form in terms of text, movements, properties, music, visuals and space. Manalmagudi navigates subaltern rituals and performances in Tamil Nadu and contemporary politics to explore new language of theatre and transcend limits of body, space, time and performance.

Manalmagudi’s main productions, are instrumental in bringing about a new genre of Tamil theatre of as yet unexplored theatrical vocabulary, by not re-enacting rituals into theatre but by embodying a theatrical ritual.

Focus is not merely on human centric theatre practice, but on incorporating theatrical language of non-human forms such as animals and plants, dolls and masks, sculptures and paintings within the productions.Rehearsals and performances often take place in spaces such as forests and shifting sand dunes, as well as in natural and educational settings in cities, towns and villages.

Since 2010 Manalmagudi has had more than 150 performances across Tamil Nadu and over 20 performances across India, including in International and National Theatre Festivals. At National School of Drama’s (NSD’s) international theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), New Delhi, Manalmagudi performed 4 times: Semmothaai(Ancient Mother),2009; Mirugavithusagam (Animal Jester), 2012; Soorpanangu, 2013; Kuhaimaravasigal(Cave Tree Dwellers), 2015.

At Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META), New Delhi, Mirugavidushagam(Animal Jester) was awarded Best Costume Design, 2013 and Kuhaimaravasigal(Cave Tree Dwellers) Best Choreography in 2016.

In collobration with Marāa

*Please note: BIC Venue events need attendees to be vaccinated with at least one dose, in addition to complying with all health and hygiene guidelines.


S Murugabhoopathy

Theatremaker and Founder, Manalmagudi Theatre Land

S. Murugaboopathy is the founder of Manalmagudi Theatre Land. An actor, he is the director, playwright, music composer and musician for the troupe. As a playwright he was awarded Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, 2011 by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi for his work with Manalmagudi.

Starting with street theatre movement in 1987, Murugaboopathy has acted, scripted and directed more than 20 plays. The plays contextualise silences and gaps in mainstream history: of forgotten faces of great theatre personalities; loneliness of prisoners; tragic life of migration labourers and refugees; unbearable distress of farmers leading to their mass suicides; suppressed local histories; and detachment of human life from local cultural-ecological landscapes.

For the last 15 years Murugaboopathy has also been actively teaching children and experimenting with children’s theatre. He has directed more than 40 children’s plays.

At present, Manalmagudi is engaged in creating a theatre culture in south Tamilnadu by working closely with the younger generation school and college students and offering intensive theatre courses to children, college students, and the public in our theatre academy at our home town Kovilpatti, Tamilnadu.