Theatre lovers often complain about the lack of good venues where they can enjoy an entertaining play. This is especially true when it comes to Marathi theatre. But crib no more! This week marks the beginning of Pratibimb — a Marathi theatre festival, where six plays will be staged at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai. The festival, which began in 2010 to explore Marathi talent, is focussing on experimental plays this year.
“NCPA began Pratibimb to showcase the best of Marathi talent, since there are very few Marathi theatre festivals in town. We have always staged plays with different themes. This year productions that are experimental in terms of storytelling and structure will enhance the festival,” says Deepa Gahlot, Head- programming (theatre and film), NCPA.
While all the plays have received top billing, the most talked about is Dream Society, which will be staged on the opening night (August 2). Written by Shafaat Khan, this 90-minute play revolves around the life of an author who peeps into the dreams of other people and writes about them.
“Imagine a writer who is blessed with the power of visiting other people’s dreams. As the play moves forward, people seek legal action against the writer to prevent him from trespassing into their dreams. It will have a narrator talking about incidents in flashback mode,” reveals the play’s director Pradeep Mulye.
Other productions that will be staged include Mele Undir on August 3, Shivacharitra Ani Ek and Ek Diwas Mathakade on August 4, Khoon Karaychay on August 5 and In Meen Teen on August 6.
Mele Undir, for instance, explores the co-existence of humans and some of their ulterior motives. Written by Deelip Jagtap and directed by Abhijeet Zunjarrao, this 120-minute act follows an abstract style, allowing viewers to form their own interpretations. Shivacharitra Ani Ek, on the other hand, is a two-part play, which talks about the caste system in India and the need to eliminate it. Ek Diwas Mathakade revolves around the lives of two men — a young boy and an old man who have lost their dear ones. Khoon Karaychay is a suspense drama based on Anthony Shaffer’s Tony-winning play Sleuth where a successful novelist asks a struggling actor to steal his wife’s jewellery. The writer thinks by doing so he would be exempted from paying his wife the alimony and also get reimbursed by the insurance company.
The festival ends with the staging of In Meen Teen, a 70-minute play that revolves around three benches in a park, which are visited by three different people on various occasions. Each person wishes to sit on a particular bench, which is usually occupied by another person. This results in a squabble between the three and highlights psychological oddities in all of us.
If it’s not pouring cats and dogs, and if you do love your theatre, book your seats now.
When: August 2 to 6,
6.30 pm onwards
Where: NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point