B. Jayashree’s contemporary take on Sri Krishna Parijata to premiere on October 11  


A scene from the play Parijata.

A scene from the play Parijata.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Spandana Theatre, an amateur theatre company started by prominent film and theatre practitioner B. Jayashree is making a comeback with its new production Parijata. Directed by the founder herself, and written by K. Y. Narayanswamy (KYN), this production marks the celebration of the theatre troupe’s entry into its 50th year.  

Parijata is based on an incident from Mahabharata, which questions why Krishna, who gave Amruta to the Gods and made them immortal, had to wage war with Indra, the King of Gods for the sake of Parijata. The popular incident from Mahabharata is performed as Sri Krishna Parijata, in the Sannata form, a folk theater form in Karnataka. In Assam, it is performed as Parijat Haran in the Sattriya form, a classical dance form. The team proposes to take selected elements from both these versions and art forms, to create a new-age version of Parijata.  

Jayashree says that despite having elements of age-old art forms, the play breaks stereotypes.

Jayashree says that despite having elements of age-old art forms, the play breaks stereotypes.
| Photo Credit:
The Hindu

Theatre maker, actor, and singer, B. Jayashree who is known for directing popular plays like Karimayi, Sadarame, Neevu Kanire, Lakshapathi Rajana Kathe, and many more say that it has been a wish for several years to direct the play Parijata, “My last direction was Neevu Kanire, however, I did not want to take up a new play immediately as I wanted the play to complete a good number of shows. This coming January, Spandana Theatre will enter its 50th year, to celebrate this I wanted our team to have a new play. “

“For several years I wished to direct Parijata and now the time was right. So, I got in touch with K.Y. Naryanaswamy who has written plays for us earlier. However, KYN was intimidated and said this is not something I can write. But I managed to convince him to write it. What kept haunting me was why Indra waged war with Krishna for the sake of Parijata, when Krishna himself gave life to Indra. I did not want the play to just focus on Krishna and Indra, but also put light on the story of Parijata“.  

B. Jayashree with the actors rehearsing for the play Parijata.

B. Jayashree with the actors rehearsing for the play Parijata.
| Photo Credit:
The Hindu

Jayashree says that despite having elements of age-old art forms, the play breaks stereotypes, “The major form used in the play is Sannata, as every play I make will have some folk element to it. Usually, Sannata is performed within 12 feet-long and wide area, there is not much movement in this form, but keeping in mind proscenium and open-air theatres, we are performing the play within 18 feet-long and wide area. In Sannata not more than two actors and a musician perform, keeping that in mind though the production has close to 20 actors, we have restricted each scene to not more than three artists at once. Despite having elements of a folk-art form and elements of a company theatre in the play, we have made sure to not stereotype the characters. For instance, the character of Krishna is played by a female actor, there are many characters and instances like these in the play that break stereotypes“.  

Talking about the process of writing the play KYN said “Working with B Jayashree is overwhelming. She takes quite a lot of time to prepare for a play. She asked me to write this play two years ago, but I was scared to take up the play, as it had to be written for the folk art from Sannata. So, I started to research the art-form for some time and then started writing the play. Initially, it was hard to get the hang of writing for the art form. Sannata is usually performed all night, so shortening the script for a performance for the new-age audience was a challenge. Jayashree and I made several drafts of the play, and it took me a year to write Parijata”.  

“The play is very relevant to this day though it is a mythological story. I feel it is only the characters that are mythological, but what the characters speak is relevant and situated in our current political, social and cultural life. Which is the beauty of this form and the play. This is a very dynamic script and will grow with each show. It is a great contribution to the world of Kannada theatre“, KYN added. 

Parijata also has a mix of both Hindustani and Carnatic music composed by Praveen D. Rao and Susheel Sharma.

Parijata also has a mix of both Hindustani and Carnatic music composed by Praveen D. Rao and Susheel Sharma.
| Photo Credit:
The Hindu

The play was produced over a period of two-months and has elements of other art forms like Kalaripayattu. Parijata also has a mix of both Hindustani and Carnatic music composed by Praveen D. Rao and Susheel Sharma. Keeping in mind the elements of Sannata, the play does not have a set; properties for the play have been designed and made by well-known theatre practitioners Shashidar Adapa and Arun Sagar. While lights have been designed and executed by Arun D.T.  

Parijata will premiere on October 11 and 12, with shows at 7:30 p.m. on both days at Ranga Shankara, J.P. Nagar. Tickets for the shows are available at the Ranga Shankara box-office and on BookMyShow.  



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