Come August and Monsoons shall turn magical in Kolkata, as the city gears up to host the third edition of Monologues, India’s only solo arts festival. The festival, hosted by Phreedom4Ever, an organisation led by Chaity Ghosh, that envisages cultural excellence, is the brainchild of popular elocutionist and theatre actor Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee. Being the only annual solo arts fiesta in the country, the forum has witnessed performances by stalwarts like Chapal Bhaduri (India’s last living female impersonator in performing arts), Saoli Mitra(the legendary actress and daughter of theatre maestro Shambhu Mitra), Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Bijoylakshmi Barman and many others over the last two years. The 2014 edition of Monologues shall kick off on 3 August at Swissotel with a solo by Mita Vashisht, who is an internationally acclaimed film personality. This is the first time that Mita shall present a theatrical performance in Kolkata and her act for the evening is called Weekend, a part of the very famous Teen Ekaant by novelist and activist Nirmal Verma, a noted figure in the Indian literary circles. Sujoy has always brought performances out of proscenium to alternative spaces and this festival endorses that.
Monologues 2014 showcases The Solo Room, the youth- section of the festival, on 9 August at Tantra, The Park as a matinee performance. Infact, Monologues is the only national arts festival that has a special segment dedicated to the youth and the arts. The Solo Room begins with an original dramatic act by Soumya Mukherjee, a very popular youth actor and the founder of M.A.D., a key youth-theatre player in Kolkata. Next on the cards shall be a musical solo by Kabir Chattopadhyay, who will entrance the audience with a whole lot western retro. The final act for the evening is a session of original lyrics and songs by the iconic music composer and vocalist Neel Adhikari. The finale of Monologues 2014 shall be on 10 August at Tollygunge Club. The evening begins with a solo comedy by much-admired media personality Anubhav Pal. What follows is a contemporary dance solo by internationally famous contemporary danseuse Paramita Saha, who shall revisit issues of gender construction through her performance. The crowning act shall be by the legendary Indian theatre personality and activist Usha Ganguly, who shall be premiering her new play Rozana, a monologue inspired by works of Franca Rame and Dario Fo. Going solo becomes an expression of a trajectory of emotions that sums up life and art. No wonder, this solo arts carnival has become the nation’s delight.