The couple with the book, Pagha Jori Jori Re Ghato, on which their play Ghana Lohar Ka is based, at their Ranchi office. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The year 2014 may ring in some good news for tribals as well as theatre lovers.
Writer couple Aswini Pankaj and Vandana Tete has taken upon themselves the task of staging two plays with tribal themes. While firstname.lastname@example.org will be staged by a group of tribal artistes, Ghana Lohar Ka will be a monologue to be presented by local actor S. Mridula.
At present, they are all busy rehearsing the plays.
“Rickshawala@vikas.com is a play that depicts the gap between two classes in the tribal community — the rich and educated and the poor and uneducated. The play will bring alive socio-economic realities of the tribal community,” said Pankaj, who has written it along with his wife.
It starts off with a tribal officer looking for a rickshaw to take him home from Ranchi station at the middle of the night. He asks a rickshaw puller, who also happens to be a tribal.
But, the poor rickshaw puller is unwilling. The duo get into a heated discussion that brings to light the socio-economic disparity in the tribal community.
“The play is being rehearsed now and it will be staged in early February. We will perform at Ranchi University and other venues,” said Tete, who along with her husband runs Jharkhandi Bhasha Sahitya Sanskriti Akhra, a literary organisation that publishes works of various writers on tribal and regional dialects.
The couple is also planning to stage the plays at district headquarters to attract more tribal youths to theatre.
If email@example.com has an original script, Ghana Lohar Ka is an adaptation of a story written by former professor of Ranchi University’s tribal and regional language department Rose Kerketta, who is Tete’s mother.
“This play depicts the rude reality of how tribal girls who are married by non-tribal men are not accepted by the non-tribal communities. It brings out the social tension between the two communities,” Pankaj added.
Plays with tribal themes, that too staged by tribal artists, are a new concept in Ranchi. Last year, the writer couple had put up their first play Bhasha kar rahi hai dawa, which also had a tribal story line.