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Manasi - a journey through the mind...March 2001

MANASI...was presented by Anita Ratnam and Arangham Dance Theatre on February 26, 2001 at the Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai for the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai.

After initial discussions with members of SCARF, a special focus for the fund-raiser programme was defined. MANASI... then evolved through further discussions and rehearsals.

The work highlights the abstract and challenging idea of mental health awareness. Using a blend of music, rhythm, dance and spoken dialogue, the work examines through sensitive, young Manasi's life, the stress, prejudices and dangers posed by an intolerant society. The desperate call for compassion and collective responsibility towards those who think differently - bringing all of them into the mainstream of society - makes up the final, clarion notes of MANASI... a journey through the mind. The music for the programme was specially composed by noted musician OS Arun.

Programme Note
SCENE 1: Prologue
Song establishes the mood. A whirling Kathak dancer symbolises the active mind a Bharathanatyam dancer mimes the lyrics of a strong mind and the importance of mental health.

SCENE 2: Dance and Harmony
A short rhythm sequence with 7 dancers to show the importance of balance and composure of body and mind.

SCENE 3: Torch light parade
Within each of us is a light of love, life and laughter many times it is stolen from us - most times we are women who are left in the dark.

A section dealing with the trials of women and the many roles they play as mother, wife and working professional. Very often lack of understanding at home leads to depression and suicide.

SCENE 4: Song of hope and consolation

SCENE 5: Children's Rap song
Where a child is reduced to a robot in today’s mechanized world. Using a silambam (stick) as a metaphor, the mechanical movements and the eventual collapse of the child are woven as he/ she demonstrate hostility, violence, aggression and run away from home.

SCENE 6: Phobias
The various kinds of mental states from fear of illness to the fear of noise or untidiness.

SCENE 7: Stigma
Intolerance and cruelty to the mentally disabled. A group of people in a street scene ….. how thoughtless and unkind people can be to one another. Stigma of a mentally disabled person treated without compassion and banished from society.

SCENE 8: Headache / Tension and stages of Schizophrenia, gradual deterioration of physical and mental faculties.

SCENE 9: Song in praise of medical professionals who work for rehablitation.

SCENE 10: Dare to share
Finale of joy, hope and responsibility.

Critics Speak
"Mind Matters", an event organised by Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) on February 25, 2001 at Narada Gana Sabha, was dedicated to the cause of spreading awareness about schizophrenia…
Maanasi (the young mind) a choreo-theatre production by Anita Ratnam exclusively for SCARF …was a moving presentation that spoke of the dangers faced by people who are neglected and misunderstood.
- Anne Kurian, EXPRESSWEEK, Chennai, Saturday, March 3, 2001

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