Witness vibrancy in Indian theatre

Recognised as one of the oldest and most prestigious theatre festivals in Delhi, the Old World Theatre Festival will bring a constellation of original scripts from August 16 – 25, at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. In its 18th edition, the festival has invited a stunning array of productions that entertain, stimulate, provoke and educate in great measure.

Announcing the line up, Vidyun Singh, Director Programmes, Habitat World, India Habitat Centre, said "We are delighted to see such diversity and vibrancy in Indian theatre, and this year we proudly bring a gamut of theatre performances, which engages with contemporary dilemmas and various issues concerning the country at large. The past few years have seen a steady and growing change in the Indian theatre milieu, as a new generation of theatre practitioners came into its own. They are brilliant, relentless and are undeterred by the practical concerns of revenue models, escalating costs of performance spaces and paucity of funds."

'1,2, Tree…', a puppet theatre production about a 7-year old boy, his cat Bruce Lee and a plant which they have befriended will open the festival on August 16, 7:00 pm at The Stein Auditorium. Another delightful opening act is 'Unravel: An Improv Play About Mental Health' directed by Varoon Anand. Unravel is an interactive theatre ​production bringing experiences with mental health and wellness to the fore.

Other plays during the festival include Gurleen Judge's 'Hunger Artist' inspired by both Franz Kafka's chilling short story by the same name and Dhasal's masterpiece poem 'Bhook' (hunger), a moving portrayal of the agrarian crisis. Tara Arts London brings Black Theatre Broadcast of William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', about three outrageous hijras who cook up an explosive brew of treachery, ambition, and passion, setting an Asian family off on a path of bloody self-destruction directed by Jatinder Verma.

Supported by the British Council, the renowned director will also lead a master class on August 18 with designer Claudia Mayer exploring the choices possible in re-locating Shakespeare's text to another culture, and its consequences on approach to the text. Veteran Director Neelam Man Singh's new production 'Gumm Hai's' recurring leitmotif follows Pinki, a young girl of eleven who has gone missing from her village for two months, and how an inexplicable loss irrevocably changes the dynamics within a family and the community.

'Every Brilliant Thing' directed by Quasar Thokore Padamsee is the story of a seven years old. Mum's in hospital. She finds it hard to be happy. He makes a list to cheer her up. Directed by dancer Sanjukta Wagh, Bombay-based beej's 'Faqeer Nimaana' is a dance and music narrative based on Shah Hussain, a mystic weaver poet from 16th century Lahore. Sanjukta Wagh will be joined by musicians Radhika Sood Nayak, Hitesh Dhutia and Vinayak Netke. 'Those Left Behind Things' directed by Vikram Phukan is a play that follows the journey of Iranian asylum-seeker Hamid set in the dark alleys of Tehran to the neon-lit pier at Brighton. Based on Annie Zaidi's acclaimed short story, 'Jam' directed by Bollywood actor Shivani Tanksale is a story of college friends who haven't met for years.

Under Pressure directed by Aruna Ganesh Ram explores themes of consumerism, minimal living, indigenous wisdom, the life of trees and the politics of nature. The Big Fat Company's Head 2 Head directed by Shabari Rao is a unique devised theatre performance using sections of the iconic Kannada play by Girish Karnad.

The festival will close with Makrand Deshpande's 'Pitaji Please', story of love between a father and son and they are compelled to keep one lie between them to welcome a new person in their lives. The festival will also see workshops and master classes by visiting theatre practitioners, which includes workshops on Improvisation by Varoon Anand, Character Development by actor Aditya Garg and the Big Fat Company's one day workshop for physically big actors.

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