For patients at the General Hospital accustomed to the weekly music concerts of the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s Arts and Medicine programme, today’s edition was a different experience in therapeutic, as well as thought-provoking art — in the form of a street play presented by students of the Vidyodhaya School, Thevakkal.
A group of 15 Class IX girl students, representing the ‘SHE Wing’ of the school’s Theatre on Wheels group, under the guidance of Shirly Somasundaran, performed a piece based on iconic poetess Sugathakumari’s work ‘Maricha Kunjungal Varunundu’ depicting the issues faced by women, especially young girls.
Shirly, the Principal of the Kindergarten section (KG) of Vidyodhaya School and a Sangeetha Nataka Academy award winner, has been training the students in theatre performances and equipping them to raise social concerns through dramas and street plays.
This week marked the 206th episode of the all-Wednesdays ‘Arts and Medicine’ programme, a joint initiative of KBF and Mehboob Memorial Orchestra, and sponsored by Casino Air Caterers and Flight Services (CAFS).
The students — Nandabala, Aparna Rajesh, Safrin Rafeeq, Sivani Ajay, Bhavya Chandran, Aparna Nair, Thankam Jim, Nanda Nair, Vyshnavi M, Parvathy P, Susan Mathew, Nanda J and Sai Lakshmi — put their heart and soul into the play as the crowd comprising, patients, bystanders and medical staffers cheered them on.
They demonstrated the power of defense and self-protection with Kalaripayattu moves and played instrumental music to accompany the performance, to huge applause from the audience.
“We don’t usually get invited to any platform, but we volunteer to perform at hospitals and police stations in the hope of making an impact on the lives of people, especially encourage young girls and women to stand up for themselves,” said Shirly who has written four books on theatre and specializes in children’s theatre. “We needn’t be afraid of anything or inhibited about voicing our opinions. Empowerment must come from within and only then will we be able to fight back against injustices and atrocities.”
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