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Athenian lovers’ tale in Santhali

- Shakespearean comedy leaves a mark

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 27: The fourth evening of Kalinga Natya Mahotsav — a mélange of multilingual plays — saw an entertaining Santhali play, Phagun Pata, performed by Utsav group from Rairangpur.

The play, which was based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, had all the ingredients of entertainment — romance, humour, conflict and a very interesting climax.

A chaotic night for four Athenian confused lovers is the theme of the play, and the director was successful in bringing out the essence of the Shakespearean drama.

The director Sukumar Tudu, a National School of Drama graduate, has done a wonderful job of adapting this English play into Santhali. A rhythmic, foot-tapping Santhali dance at the beginning of the play was the perfect start to it.

All the actors in Phaguna Pata, from the leading actors performing the roles Lysander, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, Titania and Oberon, to the supporting cast, gave good performances. The scenes between Titania and Oberon, played by Reshma Mardi and Sameer Tudu respectively, are worthy of a special mention.

The audience showed their appreciation of Reshma and Sameer’s squabbling scenes with claps and whistles. The highlight of the show, however, was Bottom, played by Bhimsen Tudu. Bhimsen’s energy, his antics and crude pranks played on his friends were a treat to watch.

“We started Utsav last year as an attempt to teach eager Santhali villagers the basics of acting and to give them a platform to act and showcase their talent,” said the director, Sukumar Tudu.

The director has taken extra care of the look and presentation of the entire play. The colourful costumes and a big swing at one corner of the stage made the stage look colourful and vibrant.

The lively background music that was managed by Daksha Tudu added spunk to the comedy.

“This is the first time all of us are performing on such a big platform. It is a big opportunity for us and we have tried to give our best. We hope the audience had a good time,” said Damayanti, one of the actors in the play.

The audience might not have understood the language clearly but they understood the jokes and had enough opportunity to laugh their hearts out.“I loved the play. In spite of not knowing a word of Santhali, I understood the essence of the play. I must say the actors have done a very good job,” said Bimal Swain, who was in the audience.