Cultural calendar in 2018: Theatre collaborations, museum for kids and more
Theatre collaborations, a museum for children, large-scale musicals in Urdu and an eclectic line-up of international acts make for a vibrant cultural calendar in 2018
For a city that often has to make do with ballet screenings, the year starts with the rare opportunity to witness the gorgeous dance form performed live by some of the best in the field. An international cast of principal dancers, including famous stars of the Paris Ballet Opera coming to Mumbai as part of the Bonjour India festival, will present a classical and contemporary tribute to Paris, where ballet was born four centuries ago under the rule of King Louis XIV.
New strides in Urdu theatre
Inspired by the success of Feroz Abbas Khan's musical, Mughal-e-Azam, several Urdu theatre groups across the country are working on similar large-scale productions, which will be staged in Mumbai. While a Bhopal-based group's play, Tughlaq, is coming to the city in March, Mumbai-based Kirdaar Art Academy's musical, Anarkali, will also be ready to enthrall audiences in the first quarter of 2018. The academy is also working on an Urdu adaptation of the legendary playwright Habib Tanvir's Chhattisgarhi work, Charandas Chor, which should be ready by the third quarter.âÂÂAn upcoming Urdu drama festival in March, under the aegis of the Urdu Academy, will provide further impetus to new productions.
An ode to Ismat Chughtai
First staged in 2002, Ismat Aapa Ke Naam is one of Motley's longest-running plays. The performance, which stitches together the iconic Urdu writer's three stories on women's lives in a male-dominated society, is now set to turn its focus on four other stories by Chughtai.
While the details including the title of the play are yet to be decided, given the vigour with which the actors have brought the Urdu doyen's works to life earlier, this one promises to be a treat.
Children's museum to open
Second quarter, 2018
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya will give the city its first children's museum. It has partnered with ace architect Rahul Mehrotra to create a glass house structure on its campus that is flexible in nature and multipurpose in approach. High on interactivity, the space will break free from the idea of a conventional brick-and-mortar structure with no boxed enclosures or permanent exhibits. In the UK, CSMVS' partner, The British Museum, will also play a key role by offering guidance and expertise to shape content meant to satiate different ages.
Honing little theatrewallahs
In a departure from learning Shakespearean plays in a literature class in school, the city's budding playwrights will be trained under the aegis of a collaboration between Mumbai-based theatre group Rage Productions and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. The project is called Class Act, and has been commissioned as part of the India/UK Year of Culture. Two playwrights and two directors from Edinburgh, along with four playwrights and three directors from Mumbai, will mentor 60 schoolchildren (12 kids each from five schools) on how to write a play. At the end of an 11-day workshop, 20 ten-minute plays will be performed as staged readings by professional actors. On one day during the writing process, mentors will also rope in the actors to help in the script development process.
A further boost to the trend of stand-up artistes travelling abroad from India and international comics coming down to crack up Indian audiences is Jason Leong's arrival in Mumbai. A Kuala Lumpur-based comedian, he is also “a full-time doctor, in [his] spare time”. In October 2017, he became the first Malaysian to win the Annual International Comedy Competition held in Hong Kong.
Something to sing about
A singing contest meets a TV reality show” is how Rahul DaCunha sums up #SingIndiaSing, a ground-up original musical he has co-written with Bugs Bhargava. One of the highlights of the show is a quartet of characters called The Hashtags. The cast includes indie music stalwarts like Brian Tellis, Siddharth Basrur and Uday Benegal. With its first show slated for October, this one is something we are excited about.
World War I reflections
As an enthusiastic volunteer for the German army during World War I, Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix was in for a rude shock when he saw the bloodshed from up close.
The war got over, but his trauma continued to gnaw at him until he found an outlet on the canvas. Otto Dix's depiction of the catastrophe of war formed the basis of his serial work, The War, which became one of the highlights of his career as an artist. The series, consisting of 50 separate drawings by Otto Dix, forms the centre of an exhibition of his works to be hosted by the Goethe-Institut in Mumbai.