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Theatre to bind two countries

- Natya Chetana collaborates with South Korean group

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 23: Khurda-based theatre group Natya Chetana celebrated its foundation day earlier this month.

To mark the occasion, its Indo-South Korea theatre project was flagged off at Natyagram, the troupe’s training camp, about 35km away from the state capital.

The project will see actors of Natya Chetana and South Korean group Mindeulle collaborating to stage plays across the state.

Defying language barriers, two plays that have elements of the two countries are making it feasible for the actors to perform despite being entirely alien to each other’s culture.

Natya Chetana, the theatre group known for staging plays on social issues to spread awareness both in rural and urban areas, celebrated the day with modest programmes compared to the festivities during their last year’s silver jubilee celebration.

During the event, parts of the two plays were staged. The artistes of both countries are training themselves this month and the performances all over Odisha will begin December onwards.

The prelude to the project happened when the director of Natya Chetana, Subodh Patnaik, visited Seoul in September and carried out a workshop with Korean artistes for the play titled The Mountain Cries.

“The play strikes a blow at environmental degradation caused by industrialisation. It is based on a true story where the existence of a mountain is under threat as a car company seeks to demolish it for setting up its branch. The mountain has significance in Korean history as it saved us from Japanese invasion,” said Song, the Korean co-director of the play. Song visited Natya Chetana last year to perform mask dance.

Another play Chring Chring based on Bihanga Biplaba written by Mahapatra Nilamani Sahu and directed by Subodh Patnaik also includes participation of Korean actors. The play talks about corruption, which has infiltrated the animal kingdom as well.

A few weeks ago, the 24-member Natya Chetana set a record of sorts by staging their play based on gender disparity, Mathiea Pani (a pot of water) undertaking a cycle expedition across the Ganjam district covering nearly 500km.

“We have substantial knowledge, infrastructure and skills. After completing 26 glorious years, we now want to head towards academics. We envision to transform Natya Chetana as an institution,” said Patnaik.