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Monkey wins hearts, stokes laughter

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  • Published 25.06.11

Bhubaneswar, June 24: The mischievous monkey Cham Cham stole hearts of the viewers and set them laughing throughout the play Cham Cham Ra Khel staged at Rabindra Mandap on Thursday evening.

Presented by students of the drama school of Satabdira Kalakar as part of their monsoon theatre festival, the play opened to a packed auditorium. It was appreciated for its tickling script and satirical humour.

The drama was a critique of political mismanagement and indifferent attitude of the civil society members towards the ineffective administration of an imaginary town, Misthannapur, meaning the city of sweets. All characters of the play were named after sweets such as, cham cham, jalebi, boondi and so on.

According to a superstition followed by the people of Misthannapur, after the amusing monkey Cham Cham sits on any seat, the person occupying it next is sure to die immediately. Once during his visit to the palace to entertain the king, Cham Cham sits on the royal throne.

Fearing his death, the king looks for a faithful, who could sit on the throne first so that the 99-year-old ruler is saved. But, when he does not find anyone willing to sacrifice his life for the old king, the daring young queen takes over and occupies the throne.

Surprisingly, she brings about a change in the administration by taking active steps. Later, Cham Cham pays a visit to her and shocks everyone by speaking clearly and then predicting that the throne is purified by the queen, hence, she will not die.

The play used a number of songs and dance as well as some instances of interaction with the viewers. The symbolic setting of the stage was creative. Originally written by well-known Bengal actor Manoj Mitra, the play was translated into Oriya by Darpanarayan Sethi.

“While adapting the script, I kept in mind the Oriya culture and, accordingly, made few changes. Moreover, while discussing with the team, I introduced some English words and humorous Oriya idioms,” said Sethi.

Young director Alok Agnibesh, who made his debut with the play, was delighted with the performance of the young artistes as well as the enthusiastic response of the crowd.“I could not have asked for a better launch. The team of young pass-outs from our drama school gave an amazing performance and the applause of the housefull auditorium is the best compliment I could have received on my debut,” he said.

“I could not resist laughing when the actor playing Cham Cham gave wicked grins to the palace officials. Moreover, names of the characters were funny. I loved the play,” said Suresh Kumar Mohanty, a viewer.

The impressive stagecraft of the play was created by Ganesh and Darpanarayan Sethi, while Manmath Mishra composed the music.