Annual Summer Theatre Festival at NSD: A feast for the eyes !!! (A lovely write-up by Vandana Bhagra)
The atmosphere is upbeat, enthusiasm is at its peak and concentration levels are at their highest as the artists can be seen rehearsing for the evening’s performance at the National School of Drama (NSD) auditorium.
Every year NSD’s Repertory Company, which organizes plays at the professional level, holds the Annual Summer Theatre Festival, a one month siesta for theatre artists and fans beginning 19th May to 16th June.
During this month all the action shifts to Kamani Auditorium in Mandi House and the Sammukh Auditorium in NSD campus, where eight plays will be showcased.
These being 1. Baanbhatt ki Atmakatha (19th - 22nd May 2011); 2. Ram Nam Satya Hai (23rd - 26th May 2011); 3. Little Big tragedies (27th - 29th May 2011); 4. Comrade Kunbhakaran (30th May - 2nd June 2011); 5. Blood Wedding (3rd - 5th June 2011); 6. Jaat na Poochho Sadhu ki (6th - 9th June 2011); 7. Begum ka akiya (10th - 12th June 2011); and finally 8. Kafka - Ek Adhyay (13th - 16th June 2011).
Each play will be showcased for four days and despite this fact there is still shortage of tickets as most of these are already sold.
Theatre is becoming a popular means of entertainment not only for those performing but also for those who take a well deserved break from watching the movies. So as a caution book in advance if you wish to catch these shows.
Baanbhatt ki Aatmakatha, Directed by MK Raina was the first play to be featured to a full audience which left them mesmerized at the intensity and the aura at which it was performed. The colourful costumes, the intense expressions, perfect dialogue delivery and powerful performances were the order of the evening. MK Raina is an eminent theatre and media personality who graduated from NSD in 1970 and since then he has been a pillar to the NSD sophomore’s as he has directed and acted in more than 100 plays. Other ahievements include production and direction of many television serials, translations and adaptation of several plays into Hindi, as well as association with prominent national and international directors. Artistic director of Prayog, and founder-member, Sahmat, his major theatrical productions include Kabira Khada Baaza Mein, Three Sisters, Mother, Evam Indrajit, Banbhatta Ki Aatmakatha, amongst others.
Raina is strong believer in "Theater for Development", as he has worked extensively in marginalized rural areas, facilitating the formation of self-help and theatre groups, particularly in Kashmir, his homeland. He has also received many awards including the Sanskriti Award, the Sahitya Kala Parisad Award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
An adaptation of the play written by Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Baanbhatt ki Aatmaktha is based on the past, and at the same time it reflects the writers’ contemporary vision, who always explored the possibility of the past in the present context. His novel depicts time and culture of the past, and talks about the modern soul, identifying with modern thought, imagination and desire. These all aspects have been perfectly captured by the artists who are performing on the stage with such dedication and perseverance and it just hypnotizes you to the seats.
Sunil Upadhyay, a regular with the NSD Repertory Company since last two year talks about the working of the Company and play selection, “Every year we have three to four new productions and besides featuring them at NSD we travel all over India to feature these plays. The recently concluded 55 days tour was hectic but equally trilling as through plays we are able to promote theatre and alternate means of entertainment.
“This Annual Summer Theatre Festival marks the end of the Repertory Company’s session wherein plays showcased during the previous year and those on popular demand are featured during this one month period”, Upadhyay adds.
Also as the NSD is fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, there is no dearth of finances, hence we are tension free and focus fully on the performances. On a personal note he adds that “my experience at NSD has been satisfying and the kind of remuneration I receive are fulfilling as they are enough to survive, hence I have no inclination to look for alternate sources of income. Plus my experiences on stage help me to implement the ame in my life and with those whom I come in contact with, eager to learn and adopt theatre as a profession”.
Hurrying for his practice session for the upcoming play Begum Ka Takia, directed by Ranjit Kapoor, he states that the response of the people has been great and hopes to have a full house during this one month period”.
This is just the beginning of the theatrical fest and more is to follow until the 16th of June… and those who have never experienced a performance should definitely head towards these auditoriums for a fun, entertaining and educative evening.
Look out for more in the second part of the write up at the conclusion of this theatre fest.
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