A new stage is set

Updated: 12 September, 2020 08:19 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

Sunil Shanbag will relive the saga of Sakharam Binder in an engaging avatar in the first of a series of online events to celebrate outstanding stagings

Ketaki Thatte (centre) and Nagesh Bhonsle in the play
Ketaki Thatte (centre) and Nagesh Bhonsle in the play

It was so sudden; work on two of our productions was on when the pandemic hit us. We believed we would be back to work in two weeks. Initially, there was some denial, before we felt we had enough of this, and decided to move the studio online," shares Sunil Shanbag, co-founder, Tamaasha Theatre and Studio Tamaasha. And so, starting this Sunday, Studio Tamaasha has lined up a host of digital gigs for the next three months.

The first event is part of a new series titled TheatreNama. "In academics, when you are studying something, you pause and reflect. I thought the same practice can be extended to theatre, too," Shanbag explains about the series that will feature guided viewings of plays, punctuated with analysis, insights and anecdotes. The series will kick off with a guided viewing of Shanbag's landmark production, Sex, Morality, and Censorship.

First staged in 2009 at Prithvi Theatre, the play was based on Vijay Tendulkar's 1972 controversial classic Sakharam Binder's struggle with censorship. Written by Shanta Gokhale and Irawati Karnik, the production had brought to life the story of Binder and his exploitation of the abandoned women he brought home, as well as the authorities' crackdown on the play for its alleged vulgarity. Presented by the theatre company Arpana, Sex, Morality, and Censorship had captured the spirit of the 1970s and the parallel world of tamasha through live music, dance, memory, among other elements. About the guided viewing, Shanbag says, "Karnik and I will talk you through how the idea of censorship came about, and developed into a production. While doing this, we'll show you extensive sections of the play. For instance, we'll deconstruct why Sakharam Binder, a man who challenged societal norms, caused a rage by watching the scenes."

Sunil Shanbag
Sunil Shanbag

Gokhale, as well as the cast comprising Nagesh Bhonsle, Gitanjali Kulkarni, Shubhrojyoti Barat, Ketaki Thatte, Rajashree Sawant Wad, Hridaynath Jadhav, Umesh Jagtap, Gulshan Devaiah and Puja Sarup, will share their experiences. Through this format, Shanbag says they also hope to offer a glimpse of Mumbai's theatre history. "For instance, there's a powerful character in Tendulkar's play, Champa. The wife of director Kamlakar Sarang, Lalan, had essayed the role. When we met her, she told us what kind of threats she faced for the character. At the same time, she said there was something about Champa that had empowered her. Rajashree, who played the role for our play, will also speak about what impact the character had on her," Shanbag elaborates, insisting that even those who had seen the production when it was running, would get to learn a lot more about its process. We're attending. Are you?

On September 13, 6 pm
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 299

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First Published: 12 September, 2020 07:36 IST

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