Over 250 theatre artistes will meet, greet and discuss issues related to Indian theatre at the first edition of the Rashtriya Maharang Parishad (National Theatre Summit), a week long event that kicks off today with the world premiere of Ratan Thiyam’s new play, Macbeth at the Ravindra Natya Mandir Auditorium in Prabhadevi.
Stage pictures of the play Chaya Shakuntalam
The summit also coincides with the seventh edition of Rashtriya Vasant Natyotsav, the annual theatre festival of the University of Mumbai’s Academy of Theatre Arts, and will offer an ensemble of theatre, music, dance, folk performances and a seminar on a variety of issues concerning theatre in India.
A platform for dialogue
Shafaat Khan, in-charge director of the Academy of Theatre Arts, says, “Indian theatre has its own set of traditions something the younger generation of theatre artistes are not fully aware of. The summit is a step towards initiating dialogue between the older and newer generation of Indian theatre artistes and theatre lovers across India.”
Khan adds that to promote dialogue, the festival has created a set of small Rangakutis (hubs), which will host open sessions of talks, interviews, panel discussions and master classes from theatre experts from across India in the day.
“These hubs offer an intimate space where 25-30 people will discuss theatre-related issues. It’s like a group of friends conversing over tea,” he shares.
Folk meets contemporary
Evenings during the festival will witness indoor and open-air performances in the varsity’s Kalina campus, with acts by contemporary and Folk artistes from across India. Those worth watching include street plays by Folk artistes from Rajasthan, and Ram Ganesh Gadkari’s first play, Sangeet Garvanirvaan, a Marathi musical directed by Hrishikesh Joshi. “Marathi musical plays have a tradition of their own. The plays are a mix of dialogues and Classical music. They might seem similar to Parsi theatre, but Marathi Sangeet Natak is without the melodrama and comic elements that defines Parsi Theatre,” explains Khan.
Revisit India’s greats
The summit is being held simultaneously with the seventh edition of Rashtriya Vasant Natyotsav, the annual theatre festival of the varsity’s Academy of Theatre Arts, and will stage five plays including works of Indian theatre masters, like Vijay Tendulkar’s Jaat Hi Poocho Sadhu Ki, directed by Rajinder Nath. The other plays include Chaya Shakuntalam (in Hindi) directed by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, Tiche Sandarbha Nasleli Goshta, directed by Anant Ankush, Rajasthani Hindi play, Jam Leela by Dr Arjun Deo Charan and the Marathi play, which will win the Maharashtra State Competition to be announced today.
Note: Ravindra Natya Mandir Auditorium will host only the opening play, Macbeth. The rest of the events will be held at the Kalina Campus of University of Mumbai.
Till March 30
At Kalina Campus, University of Mumbai, Vidyavihar (W).
Ratan Thiyam’s plays aren’t open to the public
As if it wasn’t enough that the city’s cricket clubs hoard prized tickets of international matches, the Academy of Theatre Arts, has restricted entry to two of Ratan Thiyam’s plays — Macbeth (world premiere) and When We Dead Awaken, to invited guests only. If you wish to watch these, you’d have to contact your friends at the varsity. So much for a public festival, no?
What else to catch
4.30 pm: Solo performance by Himani Shivpuri, Tamasha Lavani dance, and performance by Folk artistes from Rajasthan
7.30 pm: When We Dead Awaken, Manipuri play by Ratan Thiyam
4.30 pm onwards: Street play by folk artistes from Rajasthan
7.30 pm: Sangeet Garvnirvaan, a musical play in Marathi directed by Hrishikesh Joshi
7.30 pm: Chhaya Shakuntalam, a play in Hindi directed by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
7.30 pm: Jaat Hi Poochho Sadhu Ki, a play in Hindi directed by Rajinder Nath
7.30 pm: Jam Leela, a play in Rajasthani Hindi directed by
Dr Arjun Deo Charan
4.30 pm: Tiche Sandarbha Nasleli Goshta, play in Marathi directed by Anant Ankush
7.30 pm: Maharashtra State Competition-winning Marathi play