Kuberanigenirabeku, a laughter riot

Moliere’s "The Miser" was staged as "Kuberanigenirabeku" on 17th March at Rangashankara. Aneka, a Bengaluru based amateur theatre group, presented the play. Suresh Anagalli, a well-known name in the Bengaluru’s theatre circle, directed the play, translated by Bhagavati M.

Kuberappa venting his displeasure on his domestic help. Pic Courtesy: Aneka

The original play is a satire and it had created a revolution during Moliere’s time for questioning many French practices and traditions. Being a comedy actor and director himself, Moliere had written this play perhaps to ridicule the French society and its ways, back in 17th century. One of the revolutionary playwrights of Kannada theatre, T P Kailasam popularly known as TPK, was in fact deeply influenced by Moliere and he was the architect of socio-centric dramas in Kannada, which was till then limited to historical plays.

Kuberanigenirabeku is a story about an old miserly man called Sahukaara Kuberappa and his children Sudhamani and Rajashekara  who scheme against their own father to get married to the people they love, Gopali and Veena Saraswathi respectively.

The twist in the story comes when Kuberappa himself wants to marry and he selects Veena Saraswathi to be his wife. At the same time, Kuberappa’s box with a thousand gold coins is stolen and he starts accusing Gopali.

Gopali and Sudhamani in a joyous romantic mood. Pic Courtesy: Aneka

The rest of the plot evolves around Kuberappa’s children convincing the father about their respective marriages.  Though the entire play is a comedy, unfortunately the ending becomes too predictable.

The irony that though Kuberappa is wealthy, he doesn’t enjoy his life and is extremely sad is very well established in the story. Credit to Moliere again to have brilliantly delivered the message in the guise of this laugh riot.

The stage was lit up with some wonderful performances by actors especially Ravishankar as Kuberappa who did a very good job as a 60 year old miser. The director’s hard work did pay off. Acting was very professional and the timing was perfect. In the beginning the text bookish speech was a bit disturbing but as the play progressed, that didn’t matter.

To some it acting may have come across as a bit exaggerated and not so realistic. But then if exaggeration doesn’t happen in theatre then where should it?

The entries and exits of the actors were perfectly devised; so perfect that they looked a tad artificial. Otherwise the stage was well used and props and design were simple but nice. Light design was also uncomplicated.

Policeman and Kuberappa discussing the missing gold coins. Pic Courtesy: Aneka

Surprisingly music was used scarcely and whatever was played were mostly some old Kannada film song tunes.  It would be nicer if there were more music and original tracks.

The cast included Ravishankar, Srinivasa Meshtru, Chasva, Jahnavi, Vishwaraj, Apeksha Ghaligi, and others. The play is certainly worth a watch for its powerful performances and good humour.

Aneka was started in 2004. Suresh Anagalli, Director of National School of Drama’s Regional Resource Centre (NSD RRC) heads the group. The group has performed several kannada plays like Aveya Mannina Atada Bandi, a Shakespeare’s Macbeth adapted in Kannada, Kalidasa’s Meghadoota and NenapadaLu Shakuntale.

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