AIDS Awareness

  • Does the words 'show' and 'performance' evoke professional atmosphere?
    Thatched 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?

    As 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?

  • A professional team?
    Folk 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.
  • The Beginning?
    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 play.
  • The narration?
    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.
  • The play? The issues?
    While 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.
  • Break!
    While 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 sound?
    And 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.
  • The team philosophy?
    The 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 awareness.
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