A scene from The Lesson by Seagull from Assam
Ten days, 12 troupes and 18 performances — the spotlight will be on Academy of Fine Arts, venue for the 30th National Theatre Festival presented by Nandikar, from December 16 to 25.
Troupes from Assam, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha and Pondicherry will share the stage with Nandikar and Natadha from Bengal at this much-awaited annual theatre fest.
Poet Sankha Ghosh will inaugurate the festival on Monday and Nandikar will resurrect its play Shanu Roychowdhury, an adaptation of Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine last staged 10 years back, for the opening show. The festival will close with two Nandikar productions — Madhabi and Naachni — on December 25.
“This is Calcutta’s festival. Nandikar is only acting as deputy to the city’s theatre lovers. So we don’t invite anyone from the city. I hope Calcuttans will make it a success as they have supported good plays for so many years,” said Nandikar director Rudraprasad Sengupta.
Manipuri theatre veteran Heisnam Kanhailal’s troupe Kalakshetra will stage the widely-acclaimed Draupadi and Thalai-K-Kol from Pondicherry will present a Tamil play, Manthiran, on December 21.
“We have kept a North-east chapter in our schedule as in other years as a tribute to the rich culture and creativity that thrives in that part of the country. It is unfortunate that north-eastern states have always been neglected in our country,” Sengupta said.
Two groups from Assam — Ba and Seagull — will present three plays: Anup Hazarika’s adaptation of Habib Tanvir’s Charandas Chor, Menaka directed by Pakija Begum and Bhagirathi’s take on Baharul Islam’s adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s play The Lesson.
The festival will also see two plays staged by the National School of Drama Repertory Company — Ranjit Kapoor’s Aadamzaad & Panchlight and Anoop Trivedi’s Dafa-292. Another Delhi-based group, Mandap, will be at the festival with its Shaayer Shutter Down.
The audience will also be treated to Sua (The Mainstream), a play by the doyen of Odiya theatre Subodh Patnaik’s Natyachetana. The play delves into how the values of village life are threatened by the so-called “mainstream” attitude of urban people.
Bangalore troupe Spandana will stage Sadarame directed by B. Jayshree and Mumbai-based troupe Gillo Theatre will present She-He-Shey, a Hindi play directed by Shaili Sathyu.
Three “children-friendly plays” will be staged from 10am on the closing day.
Remembering Binodini, an exhibition on the legendary actress, and another exhibition on Women in Indian Theatre will be on display on the Academy premises.
Tickets are available online at indianstage.in and at the Academy counter from 1pm to 7pm.