Wednesday, January 26, 2005

At the Unwind Centre (Barefoot in the Park)

Evam, as a part of its fund raising drive for the palliative ward of thecancer institute, organised a light music concert at Vinyard,Nelson Manickam Road on 21st January, 2005. There was an audience of 80 people and theconcert started off with a group called Yaatra. They started with songs suchas "endrendum punagai","Ab ke sawan" by Shubha Mudgal and had a veryinteresting jamming session in between, with their drums and mridangam whichwas greatly appreciated by the audience.

Next was a group called SoulFire which consisted of students from Loyola. Asthey took their places on stage, Sunil, addressed the gathering and told theaudience about the cause of the palliative ward and told them as to how evamwas doing its bit to promote palliative care. Collection boxes were passedaround and the audience contributed generously.

The group Soulfire struck anice rhythm with "Enna ma kanna" and had the crowd swaying with its firstsong. The second number was an own composition "Kaathali yen kaathali" whichhad a nice lilting tune to it.The next song was Pal by KK and the crowdseemed entranced by the voice of the lead vocalist. After this brilliantrendition, the group went one step further and signed off with A.R.Rehman'sVande Mataram. At that moment, it was not so much the song itself but theenergy with which it was sung that made us realise that if songs still madeus feel this way, then there is hope for a better tomorrow for us as individuals, as people, as a nation and as humanity in all.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The coolest, fastest selling evam T-shirt. We have like 5 remaining from hundreds made! The back of the TShirt has "Barefoot in the Park" written.The other merchandise include round-pin badges, stickers and CD's.

WALK - On 21 Jan 2k5, 7am at THE PARK

By Our Staff Reporter
The Hindu, 12 January 2005

JAN. 11. A renewed commitment to a pioneering social reformer's dream, an innovative theatre group's series of shows and corporates walking the talk `barefoot', will bring to Chennai a string of fun and fund-raising programmes for a noble cause.

When the Palliative Care Unit of the Cancer Institute set up in 1954 by India's first woman medical graduate Dr. Muthulakshmy Reddy badly needed financial support, the EVAM theatre group stepped in to help by organising fund-raising plays. They found willing partners in a string of corporates and thus was born the `Go barefoot for a cause' campaign.

The partners include The Park, Royal Sundaram and Citibank. Besides, 10 colleges and 75 business organisations have agreed to partner in the programmes.

The schedule of events is as follows: `Barefoot in The Park' soundtrack launch at Landmark, Spencer's Plaza on January 15. The `Sing barefoot for a cause' edition at the same venue will have young college bands showcase their skills on January 15, 16 and 23. A special concert has been scheduled at Unwind Centre.

One of the highlights is the `Walk barefoot for a cause' rally on January 21, which will set out from The Park with the aim of raising awareness and collecting funds for the cause. In solidarity, more than 100 volunteers across the city will go barefoot the whole day in their respective spaces, ranging from corporate offices to college classrooms. The following day will have screenings of the Jane Fonda-starrer movie, `Barefoot in the Park' at The Park. The movie will also be shown on January 29 and 30.

EVAM's play, `Barefoot in the Park', will be staged on February 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

"The programmes fit in with the belief of our 14-month-old group that entertainment can be the means to build community participation and theatre a medium for spreading awareness," said Karthik Kumar of EVAM. The group had earlier worked with Cancer Institute during the previous fund-raising campaign, `Iruvathu varai iruvathu'.

A range of merchandise ranging from stickers (Rs. 10) to badges (Rs. 50) and T-shirts (Rs. 150) will also go up for sale as part of the campaign.

Ravi Kannan, Head of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute, said palliative care was a low-budget but extremely crucial component of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual support to terminally ill patients.

An estimated one lakh patients from all over India visit the Institute every year. Of this, around 65 per cent required palliative care. In spite of the great pressure on resources and dwindling international funding — once its mainstay — the Institute has grown from a cottage hospital with 12 beds and two doctors to have a research centre, Centre of Preventive Oncology, College of Oncology Sciences, Hereditary Cancer Clinic and Sanctuary — a patient counselling cell.

The message that oncologists seek to disseminate is "There is a life worth living after cancer."

Other writeups

Sing Barefoot for a Cause

Praveen, Nayaab(above) and girls from MOP Vaishnav

`Barefoot in The Park' soundtrack launch at Landmark, Spencer's Plaza on January 15. The `Sing barefoot for a cause' edition at the same venue had young college bands showcase their skills on January 15, 16 and 23. The main aims of this event is to get more people to join the Walk Barefoot for a Cause event scheduled on 21 Jan 2005 and to sell merchandise to raise funds for the cancer institute.

A special concert has been scheduled at Unwind Centre today on 21 Jan 2005 from 7pm.

Barefoot in the Park 2005....COMING SOON !!!

The schedule of events is as follows:
Barefoot in The Park soundtrack launch at Landmark, Spencer's Plaza on January 15.
Sing barefoot for a cause edition on January 15, 16 and 23.
Concert at Unwind Centre on 21 Jan 2005
Walk barefoot for a Cause rally on January 21, starting from The Park
Movie Screenings of Barefoot in the Park at The Park on January 22, 29 and 30.

EVAM's play, `Barefoot in the Park', will be staged on February 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

The Odd Couple (The Hindu, September 2004)

Jimmy,Nayaab,Eashwar,Manoj,Karthik and TM Karthik(seated on sofa)

The Hindu, 24 September 2004 Friday
Review By Elizabeth Roy

EVAM HAS always been clear about their agenda. Last year it was four productions, each packing nine shows that promised wholesome entertainment. Often they pick well known and popular scripts that draw crowds. They give the production their best shot and the audience is won over into not remembering other productions (of the play) that they might have seen. They are always directed by Sunil Evam (and)Karthik,produced by Preeti Sanjeevi and presented by their sponsors, main sponsor for the year being Royal Sundaram.

Last week they launched their second year with Neil Simon's ``The Odd Couple," again a well-known script repeatedly performed and in a sensestamped by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The two-hour long hilarious comedy tells the story of a very special friendship and what happens when the unlikely duo team up. Oscar, adivorced sports reporter, lives in his eight- room apartment in complete chaos and plays poker with his buddies. Felix is thrown out by his wife and finds the situation devastating. Oscar invites Felix to share the apartment with him.

Felix with his fetish for order, cleanliness, cooking and accountability drives Oscar up the wall. It is worse than being married to the stereotypical wife. Though the essence of the comedy is the conflict between the two characters, it is Neil Simon's take-on-life-and-reality approach thatlifts the play to a higher level, making it an intelligent comedy. Quite suddenly without warning you see him outside the situation, steppingback to watch the action. This perhaps is the greatest strength a comic writer needs, to dissect the human being who he sees as his alter ego,to create humour from the lives and troubles of everyday people.

Incidentally, ``The Odd Couple" which he scripted in 1966 is based on the life of his older brother, Danny, who, after his divorce, moved inwith another divorced man and the situation became the set up for ``The Odd Couple." In Evam's hands it was two hours of mirthful laughter for the audience. The play's success goes beyond even the direction to the two main characters — Oscar played by Karthik Kumar and Felix by Karthik Srinivasan. They shared a chemistry that directors can only hope for. Their timing was perfect and they played with changing the pace, with pauses, with sulks and silences. Particularly from Karthik Srinivasan it was a brilliant performance. (Karthik Kumar's make up could have matched theage his physical body communicated). Audiences loved them.

The poker-playing buddies also contributed much to the success of the play. Jimmy, Iswar Srikumar, Nayaab Anwer and Manoj Kumar playedwell-delineated characters; they presented an interesting variety, a group made up of very different individuals. And this, despite the factthat the script allowed them to be on stage only on three occasions.The Pigeon Sisters (Mili Chandy and Suzane Mathai) with a little more effort could have turned the hilariously disastrous scene into a classic as Neil Simon visualised it.The set design from Anil was elaborate, solid and paid attention to detail. Sound and light from Sunil and Amit were well executed and added life to the play. For the audience it was a good two hours of clean, intelligent entertainment and a great way to unload the tensions of the day.

Evam is not quite finished with Neil Simon. In February they return to their audience with their mega production Barefoot in The Park.And before that in November they return with two of their early shows — Art and Python Hysteria. That's more food for laughter. In the meantime ``The Odd Couple" will go into four more performances on the Septmeber24, 25 and 26.

Death - A thriller Comedy

Milli,Jagan,Jimmy,Sunil,Manoj,Viniti and Prassana

'Death by evam', is an adaptation of Woody Allen's play 'Death', and when co-scripted with evam it lends itself into becoming a Thriller Comedy, the perfect recipe for wholesome entertainment. Richly garnished with mystery, intrigue and mayhem, the basic ingredient of comedy is tossed with love and romance, and served with a secret portion of Joie-De- Vivre (Joy of Life).
Through this exciting play, evam explores the meaning and importance of death and in turn Life- our life, with its dreams and failures, loves and betrayals, highs and lows, friends and foes.. all of whom we sometimes take for granted... True isn't it? In this mundane existence of 9-5 jobs and partying, who wants to take a break and think about the lives we lead, or of death... and when we do think of death.. isn't it always in future tense.. and not in the present?

But that may not be true, isn't it? Death is not a big glamorous dramatic event you can plan for, it doesn't have a face or footsteps or a soul - it's just a factual end which can happen to anyone anytime anywhere... but what we do have in hand right now is this moment, a moment... to savour, a dream... to achieve, a promise... to keep, a love... to acknowledge, a life... to live!
So do it now, and don't wait for tomorrow because life is in today's seconds- not in tomorrow's years...

'Death by evam' explores the one night adventure of a comb salesman - Richard Kleinman who is woken up from his deep sleep at 0230 hrs in the wee hours by his office colleagues only to drive him out of his house, the purpose - to be on a vigilante committee to catch a maniac who's on the loose in a mad cap city. The play traces this one night in the life of Kleinman, his encounters with various interesting people from different walks of life, their interpretations and theories on death and hence life! The play brings about the absurd humour of one man's plight amidst a city plagued with mystery, confusion and chaos. Amidst all this the mystery remains - who kills whom, and who is the Maniac....

The performance is backed by a 40-member team (23 people on stage and another 20 members in the crew, backstage and marketing teams). This team was formed out of the 'evam mega talent hunt auditions' which were conducted in March 2004 where more than 300 persons, young and old had auditioned. It has taken the expertise of many professionals from varied fields to come together to put this spectacle on stage in Chennai.

Last year, evam performed three mega stage productions- 'ART by evam', 'Python Hyssssteria by evam' and 'Love Letters by evam' to packed houses and this year promises to be bigger and better entertainment starting with contests, promotions and excitement leading to seven shows of 'Death by evam' to be followed by three more mega stage entertainers in Chennai.

The dates of the performance are June 11-13, and June 25-27 at the Sivagami Pethachi auditorium, Alwarpet at 1930 hrs. There will also be a special show on June 27 at 1430 hrs.

Python Hyssssteria (

Papa(red tshirt,top),Sunil,Manoj,Jimmy,TMKarthik(with ears closed)

Python Hyssssteria’ marks a successful comeback of evam. With a brilliant star cast, great direction, simple sets and apt costumes, lights and music, all the ingredients of a successful production have been fulfilled.

Python Hyssssteria is a collection of Monty python’s 16 sketches from “The Flying Circus”. Fondly known as the ‘Beatles of comedy’, the Python’s (comprising of six men, one American and five English) inspired a whole generation of comedy writers and artists. They were an instant success in the UK with their unique approach to the works of Edward Lear, Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll.

No doubt, evam has rendered justice, showcasing the original work of the Python’s. Keeping all the nitty-gritty in mind, justice has been done not only to the sets but also to the costumes. The direction is commendable ensuring continuity despite 16 different plots requiring 16 different sets and characters.

The music is well chosen and adds weight to the dance sequence interspersed to change sets. The idea though unique, left more to be desired in terms of choreography. Focus on the costumes of the dancers would have added more grace to the dance. The sets were kept simple with some chairs and tables. The props included stuffed Pythons and a bird, which peered at the audience.

The lead cast includes Karthik k, Sunil Vishnu, Jimmy, Karthik Srinivasan, Manoj Nair and new talent like Ajai Titus and Amrita Ramkumar. The cast’s treatment of the comedy ensures that one is rolling with laughter.

The 16 acts vary greatly from one another guaranteeing no repetition. The sequences range from a disciplinarian Headmaster's nonchalance towards a student’s death due to excessive lashings at school to the unbelievable tales the characters come up with to describe their past lives of drudgery and poverty going to the extent of narrating their lives in a box.

This production is a MUST WATCH with the art of timing perfected to ensure that the humour is fresh and nerve tickling. This HSBC-sponsored production was presented at the Sivagami Petachi Auditorium from the 14th of January to the 18th of January 2004.

Happy Birthday !!!!!!!!!!!

Art (The Hindu, Monday, Dec 20, 2004 )

Karthik,Sunil and Jimmy
FRIENDSHIP TURNED SOUR: Marc and Serge have an argument as hapless Yvan looks on wondering whose side to take. Pic: K. Ananthan.
Art is all about friendship - its strengths and frailties. And, Evam managed to transport the audience to the time they spent with friends, writes SUBHA J RAO

EVER CAUGHT between two warring friends? Then, you'll understand the predicament of simple-minded Yvan better.
The proverbial good man who spends his time in a dusty stationery store owned by his fiancée Catherine's uncle, he is the one you'll identify with most in Yesmina Reza's `Art', staged recently in the city by Chennai-based Evam.

About Art
Yvan does not argue with anyone - he agrees with all. But, an ego-tussle between his two buddies — dermatologist-turned-art aficionado Serge and the smug out-of-the-box thinker Marc — turns his idyllic life a little complicated.
The root of the problem? Serge buying a `white painting with diagonal white lines' for 200,000 francs.
Marc is stunned that his friend could actually pay so much money for `nothing' (after all, what is white on white?) and tries to get Yvan to toe his line of thinking.
Yvan being Yvan, tries his best to make peace, but ends up being called an amoeba and told in no uncertain terms that "Whatever you do, don't be pleasant."

Painting trouble

The plot is pretty simple. And, if you wondered how much trouble a painting could possibly cause, you'll be in for a surprise.
Each of the trio drags every little problem, real and imaginary, out of the closet in his attempt to prove he is right. The usually unflappable Serge tells Marc that he hates the way his (Marc's) wife Paula reacts to someone smoking.

Marc, who is disappointed and worried that a painting has taken his place in Serge's life, directs his anger at Serge and gets labelled an enemy of modern art. His carefully chosen barbs, timely sniggers and `tolerant' tone achieve their effect - that of irritating Serge.

As for Yvan, caught amidst a stepmother he hates, a mother who feels neglected, and Catherine, who wants her stepmother's name on the wedding invite, friends are his only solace. And, when an evening with friends goes from bad to worse, he is devastated. His whining tone and passiveness is refreshing in the battle of words between Serge and Marc.
Most of the laughs were reserved for his innocent one-liners or paras, like the one he attributes to his shrink.

When he studiously read from his paper: `If I am who I am because I am who I am, and You are who You are because You are who You are, then I Am who I Am and you Are who you Are. But, on the other hand, IF I am who I am, because You are who you are, and You are who You are, because I am who I am, then you Are Not who you are, and I Am Not who I am', the Nani Kalairangam, venue for the play, erupted into laughter.
The 90-minute play ends when Serge, realising that the painting led to fissures in his friendship with Marc, allows him, in one sweeping moment, to render the painting no longer white.
And, the trio stays happy ever after.

Good response
For a city where English theatre is not very active, the play, brought to town by the GV Centre for Performing Arts, elicited a good response.
But, some things never change.

Despite a graphic request to desist from using cell phones, some chose to ignore the message, much to everyone's annoyance. That itself was proof of how involved people were in the play.
Karthik Kumar was brilliant as the smug Marc and Jimmy as the offended Serge. But, the audience sympathy was reserved for Yvan, played with perfection by Sunil Vishnu.
Sunil and Karthik of Evam said they were happy with the public response. "The audience was neat... they laughed at the right times and did not reduce the play to a farcical comedy," said Karthik.

Sunil felt there was a lot of reaction from the audience. "Each audience perceives the play differently... the crowd here was educated and a discerning lot. It knew when to laugh and when to enjoy in silence."

However, Karthik says he would like to see more youngsters attend plays. "Tomorrow's audience is the youth and they must attend shows."

The play was well rehearsed and the diction just perfect.

During the interludes and scene changes, Iswar of Evam entertained all by mimicking the playing of different instruments and acting as a modern-day sutradhar.
The people seemed impressed most by the gripping story and the pace at which it moved. Also, the flowing diction and the stage setting.

"The show had a mixed audience and each one of them seemed to enjoy. Even the occasional use of four-letter words did not stand out because they fell in place perfectly with the dialogue," felt Rajini Varadarajan, Trustee of the GV Centre.

About evam - The Hindu (Tuesday, Sep 09, 2003 )

Sunil Vishnu and Karthik Kumar

IN AN environment where investment in theatre may seem like courting commercial suicide, two young men are daring to prove otherwise. Karthik Kumar and Sunil Vishnu K. have launched Evam, an entertainment management company that plans to promote theatre in the city. The company will shortly kick off with three English plays ("Art by Evam", "Barefoot in the Park" and "Zoo Story"), the first of which will be premiered tomorrow.

Evam also proposes to provide Chennai with quality entertainment in cinema, short films and musicals. "We guarantee fare that's neither crass nor arty," says Sunil. The two young men believe that, if things work out, they will be successful pioneers in professional entertainment. Theatre is not a new field for these two young men, who had formed a group (Sankalp) when they were students at the Mudra Institute of Communications (Mica). But why did they choose Chennai as their base to launch this business centre? A study of the market revealed the lack of enough theatre activity in Chennai when compared to Mumbai or Bangalore. Hence, the two believe that the city offers untapped potential.

As things stand, Chennai has a couple of English theatre groups and a small number of Tamil amateur players who stay largely with comedy. There are very few serious stage troupes. If anything, it is the tearjerkers on television that have a great appeal with the middle class. Sunil and Karthik refuse to be cowed down by such facts. "We are not here to fight any medium. If the average man wants television, I feel our job is to give it to them. So we are planning a 20-week slot with one story a week, in Tamil, on the lines of Balu Mahendra's `Kadhai Naeram' and Suhasini's `Penn'." That's next on their agenda, after which they plan to enter tinsel town as filmmakers. Work on the television fare has already begun and nearly 10 stories are ready. Cinema, in any case, is not new to Karthik. He was seen in a brief role in "Alaipayuthey" and plays hero in P.C. Sreeram's "Vaanam Vasapadum".

As opposed to the amateur theatre groups, Evam is a professional firm. At the moment, they are slogging to widen the viewer base for English plays. And they know that the student community is a target worth trying. "Today's youth ventures out frequently for entertainment — a cup of coffee at Qwikys, a film at Sathyam or a jig at a disco joint. So now each of these is our competitor. All we are saying is give us a chance too. And pricing our tickets high, we know, is no way to woo them. So we promise quality enjoyment at reasonable rates ... "

Thus from creating to packaging and from promoting to the actual selling, Karthik and Sunil are engaged in every aspect of work. But where does the money come from? After the course at Mica, Karthik and Sunil worked for a couple of years and saved substantially before they took the plunge. And forsaking a secure, cushy job to realise a dream is no ordinary decision. "Sure ... our parents are quite anxious but we are confident it will work." This is the right time to change tack and take off, they feel. "I cannot see myself as a software professional developing a paunch in a couple of years sitting in front of the computer," adds Karthik. They are both 25. If we are not prepared to take risks now, we never will, they say.

Sunil is from Bhopal. His parents live there. He has worked all over the country and has now chosen Chennai for a lucrative livelihood. The cast of their first play "Art by Evam" includes Jimmy, producer, Radio Mirchi, besides Sunil and Karthik. And don't wonder who selects the stories and writes their scripts. Who else but these two? Young men and women with a creative bent can knock at their doors for a response.

Preeti Sanjeevi, their junior at Mica, has already joined them. More than money the two are investing a lot of time, energy and talent and things augur well for them. Big names such as HSBC, Nescafe, The Park and RPG figure in their list of media partners and sponsors. "When we go and meet them, we are businessmen, dressed in formals with ties and tucked in shirts. We believe in attire that suits the occasion. Even in our plays we've decided never to compromise on costume. It has to be apt," they say.

Their agenda is clearly chalked out. But with one as ambitious and hardworking as the other, will ego come into play? "We set off together only because we jell well. There's no room for individual ego trips. We can't afford it. Too much is at stake," they chorus.
(Evam's first shows for the public will take place on September 18 and 19 at The Park and on September 26, 27, 28 at the Sivagami Pethachi auditorium. Tickets available at Landmark and Genesis. Or contact 98410-45448)