Lyria Kurian, Nalini Narayani, Sneha Ram, Sreehari Ajith
Locked up in the house all day, Rani in her loneliness tells herself stories and creates a world of dreams, fantasies and half-truths. In the anthill just outside lives a creature she is both scared and fascinated by. In her reality, her only companion is her indifferent husband Appannan.
Everything changes when friendly, neighbourhood gossip, Kurudiamma gives her a magical root that will make Appannan fall in love with her. Rani accepts the roots, but does she really desire Appannan's love? In a split seconds impulse, Rani pours the root into the anthill outside the house.
The following night, Appannan comes into her room. The same body, a different man. Is it what she thinks it is? If it is, then is her fear stronger than her desire to pursue this relationship? And how will reality reconcile with her half-truth when she becomes pregnant? How will the community that she lives in mete out justice for her infidelity and how will she navigate it?
Originally in Kannada by Girish Karnad, the play, is adapted to Puthenchira village in Thrissur district of Kerala. As Rani navigates her reality and half-truth, we see Rani as a girl with the agency to pursue her desires even in the face of the control exerted on her. We see her alive because her story is being told, and yet she takes a life of her own. Set in the midst of a ritualistic, oppressive culture, Nagamandala is Ranis story- a play with a cobra.