12 new plays & a taste of Dilli

Published: Oct 31, 2010, 11:53 IST | Aditi Sharma |

That's what's in store for theatre lovers this December, with two brand new stage festivals � NCPA Centrestage Theatre Festival, and Jana Natya Manch's Sarkash ready to roll

That's what's in store for theatre lovers this December, with two brand new stage festivals -- NCPA Centrestage Theatre Festival, and Jana Natya Manch's Sarkash ready to roll

Just in case you were wondering what to do with the gaping hole that the postponement of Prithvi Theatre's annual festival left in your social calendar, you needn't worry. This December will have Mumbai's cultureatti theatre festival hopping. The festival season will begin with the National Centre of Performing Arts' (NCPA) Centrestage Theatre Festival (November 26 to December 5). The action continues with Sarkash, the Delhi-based group Jana Natya Manch's fundraising festival (December 4 to 12) at Juhu's Prithvi Theatre. You enjoy a breather for a couple of days before youth theatre festival Thespo begins (December 14 to 19). Wow!

Tichee Satra Prakarne by Pune-based Aasakta  will premiere in November
at the NCPA Centrestage Theatre Festival

Kala Desh Ki Seva Mein
In 2006, when Prithvi Theatre celebrated Prithviraj Kapoor's birth centenary, the theme of the festival was Kala Desh Ki Seva Mein (art in service of the nation). On the other hand, Delhi-based group Jana Natya Manch (Janam) has consciously worked on politically aware productions for the last 37 years. In a sense, Prithvi Theatre and Janam share a common philosophy. So, when Mala (Moloyashree) Hashmi and her team expressed the need to raise funds for an alternate theatre space in Delhi, Prithvi Theatre stepped in to help.

"We've led a nomadic existence until now, performing in schools, lawns and parking lots. Over the years, we realised the need to develop a permanent place for productions, rehearsals and workshops," says Hashmi. The 'cultural adda' will also be used for collaborative artistic activities that needn't be restricted to Janam. The group hopes to raise enough funds through gate returns, and convince theatre enthusiasts to contribute as much as they can. With a promise of getting Naseeruddin Shah to perform in one of their street plays, they've definitely got us hooked.

A dozen brand new plays
Deepa Gahlot, NCPA's head of programming for Indian theatre, says because it is Centrestage Theatre Festival's first year, she and her team have started small. Gahlot is referring to 12 new productions in four languages by big and small, young and old theatre groups from Mumbai and Pune. The line-up includes a play in gibberish, a full-blown musical and a dance-style production. Platform performances make space for a play reading by Avan Patel, a Dastangoi performance. Since actor-director Makrand Deshpande has not been able to contribute a new play, he has promised a one-man show.

The festival will also host a theatre workshop titled, Understanding Theatre -- From Script to Stage, conducted by Waman Kendre, Salim Arif and Atul Tiwari.

Gahlot admits working out the logistics of the festival has not been easy. Considering both Nehru Centre and Prithvi Theatre have their own festivals, Gahlot wanted to do something different at NCPA. "I've bullied some playwrights, encouraged others who had the seed of an idea, and asked some groups who were already working on new plays, to join us." 

The line up at Sarkash

>Ismat Aapa ke Naam, featuring Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah
>Tumhari Amrita, featuring Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh
>Kharashein, written by Gulzar, featuring Atul Kulkarni, Yashpal Sharma and Kishore Kadam
>Hamlet the Clown Price, directed by Rajat Kapoor
>Aao Sathi Sapna Dekhein, written and directed by, and featuring Swanand Kirkire
>Cotton 56, Polyester 84, written by Ramu Ramanathan and directed by Sunil Shanbag
>Janam's untitled production based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel Chaturanga, written by Brijesh and directed by Sudhanva Deshpande
The final day of the festival will feature a music concert by Shubha Mudgal. The festival will also feature street plays and other performances by Janam.

Centrestage Theatre Festival Schedule
At Tata Theatre
November 26 >Ekjute's Bollywood Ka Salaam
November 27 >T Pot Productions and Aarambh's Aaj Rang Hai
November 28 >Manhar Gadhia Productions' Kareena Pachhi Kon?
AT experimental theatre
November 26 >LeChayim Productions' The Interview       
November 27 >Aasakta's Tichee Satra Prakarne           
November 28 >The Orange Dingy Theatre Company's Life Through The Songs We Like: Songs of Love, Laughter, Loss and Longing           
November 29 >Natak Company's Chakra
November 30 >Samanvay's Punasha Honeymoon (Second Honeymoon)
December 1> Dharmendra  Gohil Productions' Meera
December 2> Ranga Theatre's Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
December 4 >Aranya's Haath Ka Aya?... Shunya
December 5 >Akvarious' Rebecca
Theatre Workshops
November 30 to December 5    Understanding Theatre - From Script to Stage

Fast fact
Safdar Hashmi, a founding member of Jana Natya Manch was murdered in Delhi while performing Halla Bol,  a street play. Master painter MF Husain's painting on Safdar Hashmi was the first to fetch him over $1 million in 1989

Debuts In:
Nov-Dec 2010

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