Celebrating drama in diversity
The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META), a weeklong national theatre festival and awards programme, has announced the list of nominations for its 13th edition. The ten nominated productions, representing a cross-section of India spanning diverse and wide-ranging subjects, will be showcased at the META Festival from April 13 to 18 at New Delhi's Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre, where they will be performing for an esteemed panel of jury members and a discerning audience.
Each of the ten nominations expresses the cultural sensibilities of the region it comes from along with strong infusions of reinterpretations in classical and modern theatre. This year's final 10 nominations feature plays in Assamese, Bengali, English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and Manipuri as well as a non-verbal movement theatre production. The plays explore subjects as far and wide as gender identity through Indian mythology, the machinations of the entertainment industry in how they treat their female leads, folk literature from Bengal, the balance between the female (prakriti) and male (purusha) energies, the politics of religion and the religion of politics and its division of society, the brutality against women by Japanese imperialists during World War II, Greek tragedies reinterpreted, German philosophy revisited and last, but not the least, the flamboyant playing style of veteran Colombian goalkeeper, José René Higuita Zapata.
Promoted by the Mahindra Group as part of its cultural outreach and curated by Teamwork Arts, META rewards and recognizes the best productions and performances, along with their makers and facilitators, providing a major boost to the indigenous theatre industry, with an aim to increase not just awareness but also the appreciation of theatre in India. META, a must-do for theatre enthusiasts and professionals across the country, received over 330 entries this year, from more than 280 theatre groups across 22 states in India representing more than 20 official Indian languages and 10 regional dialects. After being viewed by a selection committee comprising eminent theatre personalities such as Bharati Achrekar, Chandradasan A, Swaroopa Ghose, Vikram Phukan, and Vivek Mansukhani, the ten productions that have been nominated for the Awards represent the best in Indian theatre staged across the country over the past year.
The Umbilical Theatre (Hojang Taret), along with Director Oasis Sougaijam and Theatre Artistree (Caucasian Chalk Circle), along with Director Chandra Keerthi B, are both first-time entrants at META. Other first-time nominations include Abhigyanm production (Comfort Women: An Untold History) with Director Ranhang Choudhary, Indianostrum Theatre (Karuppu) with Director Koumarane Valavaneand, and Natak Company (Item) with Director Kshitish Date. Black Theatre (Nona) is a first-time entrant too, but with veteran Director Jino Joseph who won the 2015 META for Best Director, Best Production and Best Original Script with Matthi.
META 2018 will give away awards in 14 categories including the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as 13 competitive categories of Best Play, Best Director, Best Stage Design, Best Light Design, Best Innovative Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male/Female), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male/Female), Best Original Script, Best Ensemble and Best Choreographer. The awards will culminate with a Red-Carpet Awards Night on Thursday, April 19.