Astonishing splash on stage

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 6.03.09
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Another play by Ratan Thiyam, another astonishing splash.

The nine-day Natya Mela — the North East Theatre Festival — organised by Sangeet Natak Akademi in Guwahati, got off to a magnificent start at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra auditorium on February 25 with the staging of Thiyam’s Ashibagee Eshei.

A Manipuri adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken, it was a visual treat with stunning stage design and innovative costumes.

The play revolves around the agony of an eminent sculptor in search of peace.

He and his wife often argue about their incompatibility even after several years of marriage.

One day, they decide to choose their own life partners. The wife leaves with an uncouth hunter and the sculptor stays with his long lost woman.

Both of them talk fondly of the days they had spent together.

Lost memories and desires are awakened, as if from sleep.

Thiyam’s innovative set-props, a few sculptures on backstage and a few dolls in front of the wife, depict their frame of mind.

Moreover, the old gramophone used by the sculptor carries the essence of heritage.

The dim lights bring a rare passion to the presentation.

Music and choreography bear significance in all Thiyam productions. Here too, the gong and the string are put to good use.

The choreography was arresting as 12 girls danced in Manipuri Raas Leela style wearing doll’s attire.