March 16th proved to be a red letter day for a group of Kerala-based artists that use wheelchairs. Representing a group called Freedom on Wheels, these artists were the first to stage a theater performance at Kochi (a.k.a. Cochin).
Their performance entitled Chaya garnered plaudits as an excited audience gave the members a big round of applause. Essentially, a music troupe, Freedom on Wheels comprises nine members who use wheelchairs. For the past couple of years, members of the group have wowed audiences across numerous venues across the state.
In a bid to explore something new, the performers who loved theatre and drama brought Chaya to fruition. For those unaware, Chaya translates to "reflection" in Malayalam. Keeping in with the idea, Chaya reflected on our society's perception of specific things.
Contrary to what the attendees would have expected, the characters in the performance did not give a lot of prominence to the wheelchair. Freedom on Wheels co-founder Unni Maxx played a pivotal role in Chaya. Expressing gratitude to those who gave a helping hand, Maxx said he was grateful to everyone who came to see their performance.
Suvarna Theatres, which is a renowned drama troupe from Kochi organized the one-of-a-kind of an event. Chaya was performed at Kochi Townhall, which is touted as one of the city's most reputable public platforms. Indian film actor, producer, playback singer Jayasurya and Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Safirulla were invited as chief guests for the event.
The awe-inspiring performance was scripted and directed by VT Ratheesh. The troupe members left no stone unturned in order to ensure Chaya was a huge hit. For three months, they underwent rigorous practice sessions.
The Cochin Shipyard provided money for the event. Still riding high on the success of Chaya, the nine members are now looking forward to performing in other venues.
“It was a great experience. I believe there were at least 500 people amongst the audience. We received a lot of good reviews about our performance," one of the members called Anjurani Joy noted.
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