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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Fluid grace

Das’s eco-sensitive imagination has the stories of the rivers and human beings flowing into one another such that it becomes impossible to tell one narrative from the other

Dipankar Sen Published 17.02.24, 12:06 PM
A moment from Rupnaraner Arup­kotha

A moment from Rupnaraner Arup­kotha Koela Bagchi

Rangan Tamluk premi­ered its latest produc­tion, Rupnaraner Arup­kotha, as part of its annual festival, Parbon — arguably the most happening theatre festival in East Midnapore these days. With Rupnaraner Arupkotha, Debalina Das has produced an interesting text that comes across as an imaginative dramatisation of the riverine geography of Tamluk and its surrounding areas. It is not often that one encounters a dramatic text with rivers as the principal characters and humans and their concerns subsumed within the larger narrative of the ebb and flow of the rivers. Das’s eco-sensitive imagination has the stories of the rivers and human beings flowing into one another such that it becomes impossible to tell one narrative from the other.

The director, Anupam Dasgupta, has wisely chosen to employ a form of physical theatre to capture the watery motion of rivers through the undulations of human bodies. There is, of course, a narrator, Tarek Ali (played by Sk Faizul Alam), whose reminiscences propel the narrative. But the bulk of the storytelling is done through choreographed compositions. The fact that the actors received beneficial inputs from Biplanu Moitra and Probir Guha (both duly acknowledged in the credits) is evident in the way they use their bodies to convey meaning. The actors remain invested in their roles throughout and, if some lacked finesse, they make up for it by pumping energy into their performance.

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Dasgupta has kept things simple, not burdening the play with ideas and concepts that would remain untranslatable into performance. He needs to take the step of pulling the singers and musicians up from the pit to fully integrate them into the performance. He also has to rethink his reticence when it comes to delving deep into the theme of homoerotic love instead of just hinting at it. Rivers will often chart their own courses and Dasgupta, taking a cue from this phenomenon, can consider allowing the performance to spill beyond the confines of the stage and inundate the entire arena.

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