Fest of intimate theatre

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By Dalia Mukherjee
  • Published 20.03.15
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 A scene from Bauria PRT’s Sonar Nao Pabaney Baitha

Breaking the barriers of proscenium theatre, Bauria People’s Theatre has experimented with theatre forms, bringing plays closer to the audience. After staging a number of productions at home, PRT director, Utpal Phauzdar, organised a two-day festival on March 14 and 15  at Bholagiri Kalamandir. 

The small auditorium was perfect for Bauria’s intimate theatre. The in-built stage was left unutilised and the empty sitting area was used as a stage as well as for the  audience. A black curtain formed the backdrop with light stands around it. There was nothing to demarcate the stage from the audience. “We wanted a homely ambience where people could enjoy the programme, sitting on the ground or on the chairs. Instead of having a large auditorium, which is difficult to fill, we thought of getting small audiences for our programme,” said Phauzdar. 

Uttam Chattopadhyay performs folk songs. Pictures by Gopal Senapati

On the first day, Bauria PRT staged its new production, a short play, Sonar Nao Pabaney Baitha, twice. “Since our new production was being staged for the first time, we did two shows in one day, once for the matinee audience and then again for the evening show. In between the two shows there was a short musical break with Baul songs of Lalon Fakir by Uttwiya Chattopadhyay from Birbhum,” said Phauzdar. After PRT’s play, Theatre Formation Paribartak staged, Sthananka, late evening. 

The second day’s programme started with Trisha staging Sweet Dreams. “This format of theatre is interesting which is why we decided to join PRT’s effort. We did not face any problems while setting up the stage for our play, since the only props in our play are nine chairs and a table. In fact, the in-built stage in Bholagiri Kalamandir is small and limited, we could actually work better this way,” said Arka Mukhopadhyay, the director of Trisha. 

Music and dance are also a part of theatre and are a breather between programmes. Classical dance performances by Rudrani Mukherjee and Fiona Mukherjee entertained the small audience. Later Uttam Chattopadhyay presented a Baul song and Jhanpan gaan, sung during the immersion of Manasa in Birbhum. 

Bauria PRT’s annual felicitation was also held on this day. This year, the Kasturi Samman went to Sangeeta Pal, budding director of Nirnoy. The lights went off after Dakghar, staged by a small theatre group from Salkia, Dalia Natya Sanstha. “The group is trying to revive itself,” said Phauzdar.