CHENNAI: Scene one, the curtain opens to the house of V Sreevathson; a young chartered accountant by profession and a writer-dramatist and playwright by passion. “Amma, I became a chartered accountant as you wished. But my heart lies in theatre, I will pursue that with my friends. I will give life to the characters I have written and live the dream,” he says.
25 years has been quite the journey for the troupe, Dummies Drama. To celebrate the time spent entertaining and performing for people through theatre, the troupe is staging their play Veenaiyadi Nee Enakku (You are a veena to me) on August 26, 27 and 28 at Mylapore Fine Arts Club.
Sreevathson, along with his two CA friends, Giridharan and Krishnamoorthy established Dummies Drama, a theatre troupe in the city in 1998. Speaking to DT Next about his passion for theatre he says, “My fondest memory of theatre is associated with my father. I visited theatres more than I did movie theatres. The extravagance, the life and the pizzazz of it, awestruck me. That’s what drew me to the theatre.”
He says that Cho Ramaswamy’s plays had a major influence on him as a person and playwright. “I grew up watching Cho’s plays. They were very offbeat, different and experimental. It always had twists and turns and would keep the audience at the edge of their seats. He has always been an inspiration to me. When I ventured into writing plays, his work played in my head and influenced me artistically,” he says.
Dummies Drama had its first production, Women’s Rea, in the late 90s. But what does it mean? “There is a term called ‘Mens rea’ which means the culpable state of mind to commit a crime. So, the idea of the play was centred around a woman with this term travelling through the narration. It was very well-received and that really gave us all the traction we needed as first-time performers,” he says.
In 2004, their production titled Vinodhaya Sitham got the attention of Kollywood. “Director K Balachander had watched the play and had asked director-actor Samuthirakani to watch it. He really loved the story and later decided to adapt it for the screen; which was finally released in 2021 on an OTT platform,” he remarks.
After several successful productions and shows, Dummies Drama’s recent production, Veenaiyadi Nee Enakku, is a ‘thank you’ to their audience and theatre lovers.
Talking about the story he says, “It is a very unconventional rom-com, where the hero pursues the girl along with his family. The hero of the story does everything in his power to win her. The fifty-member crew has been practising day in and day out to perfect every aspect of it.”
The play does not have any entry fees, and therefore, the troupe is paid in kind. By having a successful show with a content audience. “We hope people like and enjoy the show. That’s all we really need,” he chuckles.