At a time when the world is getting increasingly divided and fragmented, National School of Drama, one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world, is attempting to send out a strong message of bringing people together with its flagship theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav. The 17th edition of the festival has been conceptualised and designed with the theme of Breaking Borders, is being held in the Capital from February 1 to 18.
This year, Bharat Rang Mahotsav is bigger and better than ever with over 12 countries including the likes of USA, UK, Germany, China, France, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, among others, taking part and showcasing around 150 plays to theatre lovers in the city. The festival also travelled to other parts of the country with plays being showcased in Agartala (Tripura), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Aurangabad (Maharashtra) and Panaji (Goa).
To popularise theatre among the youth and to use theatre as a learning process, National School of Drama is facilitating various colleges to perform in this year’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav. Various theatre troupes and rock bands of Delhi University colleges and Jawaharlal Nehru University are showcasing their talent. The idea behind the initiative is to connect the young generation with theatre, which will create an environment for better theatre productions. Several ambience performances comprising of folk performance, children’s theatre are scheduled for non-stop entertainment during the 18 days festival.
On the third day of the event the play A Bird's Eye View was performed. Before the invention of telephones and telegraph machines, humans used pigeons for exchanging messages. In India, Kabutarbaazi as a once popular preoccupation has witnessed diminishing popularity, but continues to be in existence. This is the story of one such war pigeon - Milu. From the time of his birth, throughout his training, during his moments with friends and his mate, Milu has one over-riding mission – to successfully deliver the message.
Another play performed was A Straight Proposal directed by Happy Ranajitand performed by the Unicorn Actor’s Studio, Delhi. Ramlila, was performed by the Vyas Avadh Adarsh Ram Lila group from Ayodhaya. Directed by Mahanta Jairam Das, Ramleela is an Indian traditional form that has been performed in all over India and especially in the northern states since many centuries it depicts the story of ideal and perfect man Lord Ram.
Barefoot In Athens was another performance of the day directed by Raj Bisaria and performed by Theatre Arts Workshop, Lucknow. The play is about the most tragic and thought provoking trial in the history of the world. It was the trial of Socrates (399 B.C.), the first and the greatest philosopher of the western civilization, and his deep faith in democracy. The playwright takes us through the period shortly before Socrates' enemies bring charges against him of corrupting the youth and motivating them for treason against the state of Athens.
Day four saw the performance of Play it, So 17 Dances about Something. The collaborative directorial performed by the Dada Von Bzdulow Theatre from Poland. The play is based in 2044.
Janina, Jan and Janka start working on an experimental documentary. In one of the rooms of a well-maintained museum theater, while making use of some former technologies (MacBookPro, overhead projector, etc.), costumes (Milan Fashion Week, 2013) and emotions (early twenty-first century cinema, dance, theater), Janina, Jan and Janka try to play out that something that was the thing.
Another play was the Guajarati performance of Akoopar, directed Aditi Desai and performed by the JT Memorial Foundation, Ahmedabad. Akoopar is based upon the first novel in the history of Gujarati literature, which deals with the life of Maldharis and their relationship with lions, nature and the animals of Sasan Gir- the last homage of Asiatic lion. Written by Shri Dhruv Bhatt, this play won two awards this year.
Of Mice and Men was another play that was performed on Day four, directed by Hema Singh and performed by Rang Vinayak Rangmandal Theatre, Bareilly. Of Mice and Men takes place during America's Great Depression, that lasted from the stock market crash of October 1929 until 12 years later when World War II began. The play addresses the real hopes and dreams of working- class America. It raises the lives of the poor and dispossessed to a higher symbolic level. Of Mice and Men tries to explain what it means to be human.
Other performances of the day were Gawari, directed by Prabuddha Pandey performed by The Performers, Udaipur ; Tamasha na hua by Bhanu Bharti of the Aaj Theatre Company, Delhi and Les chants de i’umaï by Marcia Barcellos and Karl Biscuit performed by French group Syst`eme Castafiore.