Through an initiative to make mainstream Indian theatre evolve and get recognised, National School Of Drama has left no stone unturned as it is making theatre lovers and enthusiasts get a taste of the best of theatre by staging multicultural plays by directors from across the country. As a part of the ongoing 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, three plays, one in Hindi and two in Bengali, were staged in the national capital on Tuesday.
Ila-The play, which has been directed by Puja Sarup and Sheena Khalid and was performed by The Patchworks Ensemble group from Mumbai, tells the story of a king who once ventured into an enchanted forest and is transformed by a spell.
As the moon waxes and wanes so does Ila, turning from man to woman and back to man. Inspired by a lesser known myth, Ila is a devised piece that looks at gender, its related myths and the importance they play in our lives today. “Work on this show started in September 2014, when we decided to get a few performers together and have a workshop session based on ideas/notions of gender and what it means to us today. What started off as fairly informal “play” session soon became rigorous rehearsals and before we knew it we were working creating a show”, said the director. Hiyar Majhe-The backdrop of this play is the rehearsal room of a theatre group rehearsing their upcoming play. Directed and written by Kingsuk Bandyopadhyay and performed by Kolkata Creative Art Performers group, the focal point of the play is the agony of the director. She can connect with the feelings of the boy and the girl in her play, representing today’s youth, to that of Rabindranath Tagore’s two female protagonists, Nandini of Raktakarabi and Srimati of Natir Puja.
“Theatre is the only source of our existence, our livelihood. The occurrence of various incidents in the life of a theatre artist sharing this feeling gives rise to an indomitable desire for a new creation amidst all these difficulties. It is to confront all these impediments once again, and to find the solution to these difficulties once for all,” said Kingsuk Bandyopadhyay, director of the play.
Directed by Rokeya Rafique Baby and performed by Theatre Art Unit group from Bangladesh, another interesting play titled- Amina Sundari is a story of love and sacrifise. It is based on the story of a beautiful girl from Chittagong and her struggle to survive without her estranged husband.
When asked about the play, Rokeya, director of the play said: “Amina Sundari has been adapted from 350 year-old folklore. One particular dialogue in the play really moves me and makes me pause and think. We have only one life. Grief, joy and happiness, everything is within the bounds of this life and with life it all ends.
“I have been inspired by the dual conflict; of triviality of human life in the face of eternity, and the insignificance of eternity in the greatness of one human life. This remains true in all times and everywhere in the world. To me Amina is timeless and this is why we have presented the story of one Amina representing several Aminas.”