the words 'show' and 'performance' evoke professional
roofs, open drains in irregular narrow streets. An
unusual place for a culturally vibrant evening. But
there was a difference, for the street play was an
entertainment medium comprising of aspects and aesthetics
of drama all aiming to create an awareness among the
masses, with a health message. Are 'Shows' a tool
for social Change?
part of the awareness campaign AIDS Control Project
Hyderabad, a street play produced by nrityanjali Academy
is presented twice a week in the slum areas. What
is required for a social change in the beliefs and
value systems of individuals making them more adoptive
and responsive too organic development and growth?
arts, being created and composed by the folk for their
entertainment amusement, education or emotional outlet,
at once as an oral tradition, plays a vital role in
reaching out to the masses with a message composed
in the form of songs, tales, proverbs and riddles.
Nrityanjali's lucid narrative, dramatized by twelve
dancers and actors is definitely creating social awareness
of the dreadful disease AIDS.
manavuda Maya marachina paramaruda' the twelve dancers
and actors in simple kurta-pyjamas sang with an emotionally
moving melody of the ironies of life and the blind
desires, preparing the audience of the slum for the
versatile director and scriptwriter, Vinod kumar changing
his accent to the local language delineated the subject
and the spread of AIDS. With a set of rules, a system
of communication, a grammar in which the relationships
between the attributes of verbal message, and the
socio-cultural reality in constant interplay, the
narrative transformed symbols and metaphors in response
to social variables of a situation.
play? The issues?
the simple theme, style and structure of the play
revolved around two victims of AIDS, who are stoned
and driven away by the public. The play has a doctor
who explains the facts and initiates the victims to
narrate their tragic tales. Small parts and brief
incidents that spread the virus was illustrated through
a chain of dramatic tales. Multiple sex or lack of
precaution, repeated practice of selling of blood
and use of untested injections and buying untested
blood all encompassed the narratives that see rapid
spreading of the virus. Keeping in view the audience
and their emotional and financial status, the play
also covered the aspects of 'population control'
as a poor man with more children stoops to the practice
of selling blood, and the 'illegal marriage' leading
a young girl to elope with her lover only to be abandoned.
This leads her to becoming a prostitute. Even small
mistakes made to save a two rupee and getting the
barber shave with his old knife instead of a new blade
can lead to AIDS. Getting injected with used or unsterilsed
needles for minor health complaints that can be cured
by oral medication, etc. can also lead to AIDS.
to break the seriousness and the monotony of the narrative,
jocular dialogues and plots were created again without
loss to continuity of the play. Sudesh, clad in black
acts as the 'virus' and constantly appears whenever
there is chance of transmission.
the recurring song 'manavuni papalaku marapuleni sapamu..
aids, aids, aids" was backed by single and the simplest
of the percussion instrument 'dappu' played by ashirvadam.
The play culminated with a religious element- invoking
god to bless the mankind with peace and prosperity.
performers of Nrityanjali preferred to use their art
to choreograph dances and dramas based on social issues
and also prefer to move and work on chosen sites,
on improvised platform or even without it backed by
a simple mike system and elaborate posters with illustrations.
Such an oral tradition of folk performance as a functional
art, having a contextual base would be able to carry
the message of change, development and environmental