Theatre is the art of life. And in doing so a stage act leaves an impression on the minds of the audience. A retired English professor from Mysuru took to a play titled ‘Stage Chemistry: Neuropsychiatric Disorders’ for spreading awareness about mental disorders. Talking about one’s mental health is a taboo in India. People generally shy away when it comes to discussing emotional well-being. As per a report by Times of India, Dr R Purnima, director of Children’s Literary Club gathered up a team of 14 actors for an eight-scene play.

The professor was the director, producer as well as the playwright. Moreover, she herself acted in the play. After retirement from the English Department at Manasagangothri in 2016, she has been imparting free English coaching to government school and college students. Astonishingly, the theatrical piece is devoid of any costumes, props or makeup. However, it is still impacting lives and winning hearts with a remarkable direction and diverse acting. It held its 240th show on December 12 last year.

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  • Dr R Purnima, a retired English professor directs, produces, writes and acts in a play focussing on neuropsychiatric disorders
  • The stage act casts fourteen actors of varying ages
  • The play was staged for the 240th time in December last year
  • The audience is giving a positive response to the remarkable direction and exemplary acting

The Idea

“Nearly two decades ago, the umbrella of Children’s Literary Club, a voluntary organisation which I founded had done a program titled ‘Talented Madmen’. In 2018, I got the idea for this play about disorders,” reports TOI. Purnima informs that the play is interdisciplinary in nature owing to her interest in the same. By this dramatic performance, she aims to make the target group understand, accept and involve, to facilitate growth, promote mental health, and achieve catharsis so that the world becomes a better place to live in for the affected.

The play was staged for the 240th time in December last year

Dr R Purnima. Image credit: New Indian Express

The Scenes

The play comprises of eight scenes beautifully connected with each other. The Opening Scene, Mary Lamb Scene, the Yellow Wallpaper Scene, Sylvia Plath Scene, Muscular Atrophy Scene, Gullian-Barre Syndrome Scene, Alzheimer’s Scene, and the Quiz Scene are staged making it a wholesome experience for the audience. Each signifies how some of the really famous personalities plagued with mental illnesses developed a positive outlook towards life despite the atrocities they faced. The script encompasses the unique “play within a play” technique and an intriguing quiz wraps up the show.

Dr R Purnima, a retired English professor directs, produces, writes and acts in a play focussing on neuropsychiatric disorders

The Characters

Out of the 14 actors, it was the first stage appearance of nine while 11 were inexperienced in English drama before this. Surprisingly, actors belonged to different age groups and social strata. The youngest was a six-year-old boy while the oldest on stage was an 80+. Two children hailing from the economically weaker section also showcased exemplary skills. From swotting the intricacies of theatre to developing a reading habit, it was a beneficial learning experience for the kids.

The Audience

The theatre composition received a positive response from the wide-ranging audiences belonging to different states. The play has been staged in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh under the aegis of Children’s Literary Club. Furthermore, it has been staged in Mysuru, Kolar, Chikkamagaluru, Yadgiri, Kalaburagi, Tumakuru, Kodagu, Hassan, Dakshina, Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Chamarajanagara, Bengaluru, Chitradurga, Shivamogga, Davengere, Mandya and Udupi districts in Karnataka. Prominent neurosurgeon and Hindustani Vocalist Dr. M.S. Bhaskar opined, “It was a feast to watch the whole episode.”

Read Also: Fiction and Non Fiction books that deal with Mental Health

Image Credit: New Indian Express

Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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