A unique production “Jorasanko Mancha-Gatha” — staged on Sunday by Academy Theatre to celebrate its annual festival — featured a selection of mancha-gatha (theatre-song) from the changing scenes of Jorasanko Playhouse, which is now 150-year-old.
The audio-play showcased the works of playwrights like Madhusudan Dutt, Ramnarayan Tarkaratna, Jyotirindranath Tagore, Swarnakumari Devi, Rabindranath Tagore, Dwijendralal Roy to Abanindranath Tagore and Indira Devi Chaudhurani.
The songs were rendered by Riddhi Bandyopadhyay and Devajit Bandyopadhyay, the script and direction was by Devajit Bandyopadhyay and the narration was by Debashis Bose. Devajit Bandopadhyay said, “The stage at Jorasanko thakurbari was where the annual Durgapuja used to happen and this went on till 1858. One of the early plays to be staged was Madhusudan’s Krishnakumari. Subsequently, Rabindranath Tagore’s famous plays like Balmiki Pratibha, Bisarjan and Natir Puja were performed here and received critical acclaim.”
The mellifluous music and dramatic dialogue was re-created into comprehensive and cohesive audio-visual presentations.
The production documented an interesting collage of the musical ventures of Jorasanko Theatre, never losing sight of perspective or the importance in inculcating expressions of the classic past. Riddhi Bandopadhyay said, “The songs are from famous plays of the Bengal Renaissance. I enjoyed singing them on this august occasion.”
The audio play will be staged again at Jorasanko thakurbari, which houses RBU, on December 12. A book edited by Devajit Bandopadhyay, Jyotirindranather Jibonsmriti, from Dey’s Publishing, will be released by Professor Sabyasachi Basu Roy Chowdhury, vice-chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University.
Another stage production, Phagun Rater Gappo, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was presented by the students of the Rabindra Bharati Theatre Repertoire on Sunday.
The interpretation of this popular play in Bengali with its movement, costumes, scenic design and lighting was a visual, aural and sensual feast. The two performances were held at the Academy of Fine Arts on Sunday.