Though some of the women are married, majority of the women in the troupe are either divorced or widows or left behind by their children. Unmindful of their past, they rock on the stage which is their biggest satisfaction.
They don the role of male characters and perform any role with equal ease as men, mesmerising the audience. Whether it is a mythological or a historical role, the delivery of dialogues and body gestures makes one wonder whether it is really men staging the play.
Even the women compose songs on their own and are managing to maintain the entire troupe. This is the power of female theater troupe, who have been relentlessly serving for the past 22 years in the field of theater in Mysore, staging their plays under the banner, 'Vruthi Kannada Ranga Bhoomi Mahila Kalavidara Sangha” (professional female theater association).
Though most women are well past their middle age and some are into their 60s, they still retain that charm in their voice, and virtues undiluted. They are able to attract thousands of audience to watch their plays wherever they camp. They have already staged thousands of plays across the State.
The women numbering around 150 have seen several ups and downs in their stage lives. There are even instances where women inspired after watching a play, have joined the company voluntarily. Most of the women in the troupe were once associated with the famed 'Gubbi Veeranna Company'.
They say earlier society was looking down upon artistes, whereas slowly down the years the scenario has changed in society.
62-year-old Artiste SS Gayatri says after the closure of Gubbiveeranna company, women took a collective decision of starting a company on their own instead falling back on the streets. She further expressed unhappiness for not providing an opportunity for female troupe to stage play during Dasara.
“While men always enacted the roles of women, we are very happy that today we are staging the role of men on stage. Still more changes has to be witnessed in theater field,” says another 59-year-old artiste Suvarnamma.
“If we have orders for three months, another nine months we have to manage ourselves with earned money. The government should look into this and promote theater field, helping the artistes,” say artistes seeking government encouragement.