Song, dance and a whole lotta science fiction
By Janane Venkatraman - CHENNAI (The New Indian Express)
Something out of a Marvel comic book — that’s what Little Theatre’s Atita - Into the Unknown felt like. Except it didn’t have Iron Man and the other Avengers. But it did have cool sci-fi gadgets that felt like Iron Man’s lair. And a tesseract-like object that reminded you strongly of the Marvel universe’s ongoing story arc.
Planet Earth has been destroyed and the sole remaining survivors are drifting along in space aimlessly, until they come across Atita, a planet strikingly similar to Earth. Everybody breaks into song and dance (And no, no Iron Man dancing) and they revel in the new discovery. But with just one hour to land, the ship’s Captain (A very sprightly Sunny Abraham), in collaboration with Professor Victor Tiny Valentine (Prashanth Oliver is anything but tiny with a deep voice to match) hatches a plot to become king and rule the planet and its inhabitants.
But the most important object, The Cube, with which the entire plot is hatched against, goes missing. Who took it and what are they planning to do with it? Who was behind destruction of Earth in the first place? And why does the Professor keep talking about deja vu? What is that cool gadget in the corner that lights up when there is noise?
Apart from really cool gimmickry that delighted the young ‘uns in the audience, the story’s end, complete with a twist, seemed bittersweet in comparison to Little Theatre’s usual fare. Written and directed by B Krishnakumar, the play finished right where it started — maybe as a throwback to the fact that life doesn’t always have happy endings?
Jagadeesh Kanna as the pseudo-cook Mani and Krishna D Ganapathi as the pseudo-janitor Yambo (Why Yambo?) as the unexpected, er, important characters kicked up a storm with their humour — especially with Kanna’s unmistakable Tamil humour. Nadisha Thomas is adequate as Valkyrie, the ships navigator. Special mention has to be made to Vikas Rao as Mal D Android — both for his dancing skills and his choreography.
But the best part of the show wasn’t the story or the acting. It was the lighting - neon green, orange and loads of black light provided for a very visual, very stark setting. Done by Krishnakumar, the best use of the lights were during the scene with the native inhabitants of Atita.
So take your kids along - just as much for the singing, dancing and the pretty lights as for the story with the bittersweet ending. And who knows, you might find yourself singing along as well.
Atita will be staged at 11 am on July 9, 10 and 11 at the Museum Theatre, Egmore. For tickets and other details, contact 9677125738
For the child in you
The Little Theatre’s Atita!... into the unknown, a science fiction production, transported children to another world
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please take your seats. The show is about to begin.” As we take our seats, a commotion around us draws our attention. Suddenly, hordes of school children file in, chattering excitedly about the upcoming show. As the lights are dimmed, a hush of silence falls over the hall The appearance of a single spotlight on centre stage brings the children to their feet, ear-bursting screams fill the air. Soon dialogues start bursting through the speakers. “Captain, I see it! ATITA!” The actors don’t hold back, showing off their physical and verbal antics on stage. From the moments of drama suspended on the possibility of mutiny and betrayal to side-splitting comedy, like when the lights of the spaceship suddenly fade and the character Mani states in local slang, “Sir, current pocha ingiyum?!” the play holds everyone’s attention.
Directed and scripted by Krishnakumar Balasubramanian, the one-hour play complete with foot tapping numbers and high octane action, is taken to the next level by innovative futuristic sets and strobe lights and smoke machines that fascinate you.
The production shows off the talents of the cast (Prashanth Oliver, Sunny Abraham, Krishna D Ganapathi, Jagadeesh Kanna, Vikas Rao and Mridhula Sekhar) and the crew and displays the refreshing sensibilities of this local theatre joint.
The Little Theatre, brainchild of Aysha Rau, was started as a way for children to escape the everyday stresses of the education system. Judging by the palpable enthusiasm of the students that attended, it’s evident that her idea hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Children aged eight to fourteen, coming from five different schools, made up the bulk of the audience, swarming the auditorium with unbounded glee, all eagerly awaiting the mystery behind the screen. And the production didn’t disappoint, delivering what it promised:
a sci-fi novelty with a Chennai twist.