Sydney’s Tamil Arts and Cultural Association performs a romantic comedy that appeals to all ages
What was it that made the recent performance of the Tamil play Vetri such a success?
Was it the dancing divas and a daring duet by Rekha and Vetri at an engagement party that had everyone’s feet tapping? Or the sentimental strain of loving parents eager to find the right match for their daughter and son?
Was it the humour of a cheeky school kid that constantly disrupts lessons with questions that are far from academic? Or the sarcastic observations on the workings of society by Pandi Mama?
Was it the dramatic appearance of Lord Muruga himself who clicks away on his phone answering WhatsApp messages?
Or the crux of the play that touched a chord conveying the message that to err is human…but to forgive should also be human and not necessarily divine.
Staged by TACA (Tamil Arts and Cultural Association) on 9 April at Castle Hill High School Auditorium, Vetri, staged by Sydney Nadagapriya, kept the audience engaged with its multiple shades on the mosaic of life.
The play began as a romantic comedy with an arrangement made between the families of Rekha, the beautiful and gracious bride, and the groom Vetri, handsome and courteous, wurg the families well matched in status. The path turns rough and things start to fall apart as the past comes to haunt the present.
Baskaran (Prakash) was powerful in his portrayal of a father with firm authority as he flashed the red signal calling all wedding preparations to a halt. In contrast, the character of Muthukumaran (Shankar) was laid back and ever ready to put his foot in his mouth.
The conversation as Muthukumaran responds to his wife Kokila, who is always complaining about his sister was especially amusing. Muthukumaran questions wryly, “I have always looked at your sister with as much love as I have looked at you, haven’t I? Why can’t you do the same?”
Rekha’s (Gayathri) frustration and inability to understand her father’s objection to the wedding and Logeswari (Chitra) with calm composure trying to convince her husband to change his mind, had the audience on the edge of their seats.
“I was really happy to unite the couple and see the blushing face of the bride as she gets the green signal from her father,” said Jayalakshmi who played with panache the role of the school principal who rectifies the situation.
Sparkling and divine was not only the costume but also the acting of Lord Muruga (Dhilip).
“I had to stand still without moving and present my character well, which was a challenge,” Dhilip said. “But being my debut performance and rooted to the spot with fear helped me achieve this with ease!” he added with a smile.
Pandi Mama’s (JK) phone conversation was not merely a stand alone scene but a stand out performance for its effective social criticism on the plight of the modern day internet user who has to worry not only about his neighbor tapping on his wife but also his wi-fi.
Deepa (Swetha) and Karthik (Arun) played the roles of the friends of the hero and heroine ever ready to “kalachufy” (poke fun).
“The experience of gearing up for the performance was a real stress buster away from the everyday routine,” said Arun.
For the second generation Australians, Sneha, Sukanya and Fiona, who rocked the stage with their dance number, it was a great way to get in touch with their ethnicity and vernacular roots.
“It was a great learning experience for me in many ways,” said Ganapathy who appeared in a cameo role of Pazhani, the tuition teacher, trying to drill some sense into the young Vetri (Sriman). Captured as a flashback effectively on multimedia by Gokul Menon , the scene between Pazhani and young Vetri was hilarious.
“Though dancing the duet with my wife Gayathri was a breeze, the road to staging the production was not such a song,” said Srini, the director of the play.
“Each one of our rehearsal meets was fun and I don’t remember laughing so much ever,” said Jaishree who presented the character of Kokila.
If you have put in the hard yards and enjoyed the experience at the same time then that is definitely a winning formula for success and probably the secret behind the vetri (success) of Vetri!