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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Love in myth and reality: Sanjoy Chattopadhyay decodes tale of Orpheus and Eurydice

Rooted in Greek mythology, this narrative explores the romance between a scion of an Olympian god with a magic flute and a mortal beauty. Angan Belgharia, a suburban theatre group known for its sentimental takes on middle-class life, puts in much effort to mount a spectacle

Anshuman Bhowmick Published 24.02.24, 11:12 AM
Mouna Banshari by Angan Belgharia

Mouna Banshari by Angan Belgharia Courtesy: Anshuman Bhowmick

The love story of Orpheus and Eurydice has more layers than our childhood textbooks had us believe. Rooted in Greek mythology, this narrative explores the romance between a scion of an Olympian god with a magic flute and a mortal beauty. The playwright, Sanjoy Chattopadhyay, decides to decode this tragic tale with an eye to class struggle and community pride. Angan Belgharia, a suburban theatre group known for its sentimental takes on middle-class life, puts in much effort to mount a spectacle. Titled Mouna Banshari (picture), the full-length drama also marks a welcome departure from the group’s short-length efforts.

Avi Sengupta, the director, involves Debabrata Maity in designing a multi-level stage replete with primordial elements. The choreographer, Samit Das, animates the space with graceful moves interspersed with aggression. The light designer, Soumen Chakraborty, weaves a tapestry of aquamarine blue and ochre yellow to craft a few exquisite moments of love. The lead cast — Samit Das and Mousumi Paul — looks made-for-each-other. Except for the climax, Mouna Banshari lives up to the billing.

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Kanyaka Torsha Bhattacharya is emerging as a playwright-director with empathy for the marginalised. In Saat Paake Dhnadha, the latest in Kolkata Romroma’s repertoire, she explores a middle-class Bengali wedding and comes up with an album of images laced with shades and silhouettes. Staged at Gyan Manch recently, the youthful Kolkata Romroma team engages the audience and guides them through a traditional biyebari. Bhattacharya knows how to play to her strength, keeping the elder generation out of the process. The preparations leading to the malabadal take a dramatic twist when a power cut occurs. The basharghar is thus preponed, opening up countless possibilities to probe short-lived romances and unearth the skeletons in the cupboard. The sequence involving multiple couples seated downstage and exchanging mutually overlapping dialogues is finely executed. The production, focusing on the bride who needs a constant supply of stories to keep her sanity, wins hearts.

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