Arc light on theatre fest in Rourkela

The 30th Lok Natak Mohostav, a competitive drama festival organised by the Cultural Academy, has begun at Civic Centre here.

By Rajesh Mohanty
  • Published 5.01.16
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A scene from Rangabhum's Kebala Manisha. Picture by Uttam Kumar Pal

Rourkela, Jan. 4: The 30th Lok Natak Mohostav, a competitive drama festival organised by the Cultural Academy, has begun at Civic Centre here.

Former state revenue board member Libnus Kindo, who inaugurated the festival yesterday as the chief guest, said: "Theatre provides a strong reflection of the society. It has always played a crucial role in bringing social reform."

Kindo believes "theatre can convey a message to the youth" at a time when culture and tradition are facing crisis.

Rangabhum, a group from Mangalpur in Jajpur, presented Kebala Manisha, a play by Radharaman Das. Based on the theme of gradual decay of human values and the real identity of man, the play, directed by Pradeep Samal, touched the audience with its message that humanity, rather than religion, is the real identity of a human being.

"The big question is how to find God. The waylaid person tries to find the Almighty through religious texts," said the director.

The near-packed auditorium enjoyed every bit of the play and the message it tried to convey. "It was really inspiring to see that so many people spontaneously came to watch the play despite not being staged by a local group. This is an encouraging sign for us," said former president of the academy Prbahat Mallick.

Another attraction of the play was the expressionist stage design. With a black backdrop, the play managed to hold the audience's attention with ease throughout the duration.

The festival, featuring seven plays, will be judged by playwright Dolagobinda Ratha and educator Narayana Sahu. Ratha believes that theatre would continue to maintain its uniqueness and strive. He said: "Theatre will continue to enlighten as long as human culture and civilisation exists."

Sahu referred to theatre as a reflection of human life and society.

On the first day, theatre personality Chintamani Jena was honoured for his contribution to plays, with his daughter present to receive it on his behalf.

The theatre festival began in the late 70s. However, it was stopped twice due to a lack of good scripts. "We had to stop it over a lack of quality scripts rather than for funds," said convener Akhaya Samal.