The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A regular platform for plays, performers
- Joint venture for better theatre

Arevival wave is lashing the city's theatre circuit. After a string of theatre houses going through a facelift, two stage actors have joined hands to chart their own course.

Actor-directors Shaoli Mitra of Pancham Baidik and Suman Mukhopadhyay of Tritiyo Sutra have decided to stay away from the established theatre stops in town and perform at Uttam Mancha, in Hazra, on a regular basis.

Every Sunday, from the fourth week of January, the two troupes will hold matinee and evening shows at the venue.

'The aim is to decentralise the usual theatre venues and the system of functioning at the auditoriums. In case of the manchas across town, we have to apply three months in advance for show dates. Besides, Sundays at the Academy of Fine Arts are chaotic, with three shows lined up one after the other. There's scarcely any time in between for the actors or backstage hands to get ready. As such, the quality of performance suffers a lot,' explained Mukhopadhyay, who has recently formed Tritiyo Sutra as an extension of core group Chetana, directed by his father and stage veteran Arun Mukhopadhyay.

The joint venture kicks off on January 18 with the six-day Punartaranga Utsav, which will find the two groups staging most of their old productions. Pancham Baidik takes the stage for Nathaboti Anathbat, Putulkhela, Hajabarolo and Rajnaitik Hotya on January 18, 20, 22 and 23, respectively. Tritiyo Sutra will put up Gantobyo, Mephisto, Teestaparer Brittanto and Shomoy Ashomoyer Brittanto on January 19, 21, 22 and 23, respectively. The show structure will be regularised after the festival.

'I have long felt the need for a platform where we can perform on a regular basis. So, the idea is to create a space where people can see good theatre. I had tried that before at Antaranga Natyamancha, in Ranikuthi, but that didn't work out. So, when the officials of Uttam Mancha came forward, we decided to take up the project,' said Mitra. The duo has also decided not to perform at the Academy of Fine Arts or anywhere else, for that matter.

The project will focus on multi-disciplinary activities, like interactive sessions between scientists and playwrights, or painters and artists. Both Mitra and Mukhopadhyay are also keen on inviting a national theatre company every three months and hosting an international production every year.

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