The first thing that strikes you hard while watching this play is ‘why aren’t more thamizh plays getting staged?’ and that thought, I think is the biggest success of this masterpiece of a play.
“Nagercoil expressum nadaga companiyum” is a culmination of two plays/stories put together. Directed and written by the very talented and humorous person herself, Vinodhini Vaidyanathan. The cast is all men except one.
The first one being “Nagercoil express” which was actually coined as ‘Sathur Sandhippu’ is a rib tickling story about how two passengers on a train who are total strangers find a common goal to attain through another co-passenger who is also a stranger. The entire story is so brilliantly written and conceived that it is only in the end that you will also see how clever, humour can also be. It’s at the end of this story that got me hooked more to it and I replayed the entire play again in my mind during the ten minute break to recollect how cleverly the dialogues were written and executed. The simplicity in its story and the fantastic performance by the artists left me yearn for more. I wished it didn’t stop. I wished they didn’t get down from the train. I wished I kept traveling with them along the journey because they is how one would feel while watching it. To know that this was an original script and written to perfection is commendable.
The second story is ‘Naadaga company’. The premise for it on the stage was quite interesting. When you expect that it is going to be a dramatic drama, you’re fooled half-bakishly 🙂 it’s so dramatically funny that you actually clap and laugh aloud at places without making an effort to enjoy. That is how beautifully well written the plot is. It’s about how ‘The mambalam original-ly boys company’ tries hard to get back to being a well known drama company and tries hard to woo a very well known critic in the drama fraternity. It had live music, singing and dancing (a very sensuous one). The play within this play is of pammal sambanda mudaliar’s ‘Oor oththigai’. Vinodhini has done a clever job in adding her own elements of surprises and humour to the original and keeping it’s flavour intact.
I fell in love with this play. The humanness of the characters wanting a slice of the pie for themselves. The innocence in their characterisation that let’s them speak the truth when told not to. The phenomenally talented performers just whisk you away without a blink. Before you could appreciate one actor for delivering a brilliant line, there is another who is doing a fantastic job. Makes me wonder where these gems have been secretly tucked in for all these years. Did they woo the critic? What did they perform to woo? How did they?
For all this and more, you MUST watch this beauty to believe in what I am saying. I along with the rest of the members in the audience laughed out loud, clapped, wooed, cheered and fell in love with the characters. The biggest strength for this play is its actors. I think they were phenomenal. It would be unfair for me to name only a few. Each of them were fantastic. The second biggest plus was the dialogues. Clever. Crisp. Funny. At no point during the play, will you sulk and have a droopy shoulder.
An interesting thing to note is that ‘Nagercoil express’ featured in the short and sweet festival in 2014 and ‘Naadaga company’ premiered at the Hindu theatre fest in 2015.
I strongly urge all of you to book for this play and go for it. Watch it for the love of theatre. Watch it for the love of thamizh. As much as the cinema halls are getting filled up, it’s time we gave theatre its due credit.
Last but not the least, a standing round for applause to the producers of the play. Theatre zero, theatre company by Vinodhini and our very own EVAM. Karthik Kumar and his team of wonderful people have put this together with all their love for theatre and performing arts.
They screen their next performance on the 3rd of April. Click http://www.bookmyshow.com and book your tickets right away. Their event link on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/events/249003728770507/ .