The COVID-19 pandemic has put a break on stage performances in the State since March. But, it has not stopped some of the theatre artists from doing what they love to do most.
The Alappuzha district committee of the Network of Artistic Theatre Activists Kerala (NATAK) has taken the digital route and come up with audio plays under the title Nataka Radio (Radio Drama). It has so far produced and uploaded two audio plays on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. Its district committee members are pleased with the response to the play Thinmayil Aantappan by Santhosh Gopal Thakazhy, which was uploaded on July 27.
The second play Kuzhikkala Veettil Lorance Makan Lonappan by Raviprasad Haripad was made available to stream on Sunday. NATAK district committee plans to upload one audio drama every Sunday.
Mr. Santhosh says that it is altogether a different experience. As there is no visual representation, we need to convey through words and sounds in audio play. Thinmayil Aantappan was staged in several places and we transformed it into a dramatised audio performance. All 10 artists who provided sound to characters in the play recorded their dialogues from their homes using smartphones. The recordings were then stitched together by Praveen Raj Kilimanoor, Mr. Santhosh says.
Radio drama, once a popular medium, fell out of favour with the advent of television and online video platforms. But things are changing now. J. Shailaja, general secretary, NATAK, says that audio play is making a comeback. We are receiving good response to our initiative. Radio/audio dramas have been getting a lot of audience since the outbreak. There is a huge potential for audio drama. Even a small group can produce a play and share it on digital forums, she says.
NATAK district president G. Madhu, treasurer Subair Natyalaya, subcommittee convenor Manoj R. Chandran and others are part of the initiative.