From a theatre artiste’s disenchantment with her work as the years go by, to a wealthy councillor’s philandering ways juxtaposed with the straightforward life of a petty thief, the ninth edition of the National Drama Festival in Ahmedabad, beginning Saturday, will feature five distinctive plays by troupes from across the country.
Organized by the Rang Bahar Academy of Indian Dance, Drama and Music, the festival’s first edition was held in 1980 and it has seen associations with renowned artistes such as Dada Kondake, Aruna Irani, Jay Shankar ‘Sundri’, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Jaswant Thakar, Ramesh Naik, Kumudini Lakhia and Atul Desai.
A brief look at the five plays that will be staged:
Laagi Chhute Na by Rang Visharad Theatre Club, New Delhi (Saturday)
Directed by Veena Sharma, a former festival coordinator for the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi, Laagi Chhute Na tells the story of a young actress with a close attachment to the stage. With the passage of time, she realizes the difficulties one has to face in the different aspects of theatre and starts rebelling against her directors, co-workers and even her husband, in her attempt to escape the field. However, her love for the stage makes it next to impossible for her to do so.
Bade Bhai Saab by Sewa, Madhya Pradesh (Sunday)
Theatre and music director Susheel’s play portrays the bond between two brothers who are poles apart—one is studious, the other playful—while living in a hostel during their academic life.
Shreeman Chor by the Funtoosh Players, Mumbai (26 January)
Based on Italian playwright Dario Fo’s satirical play The Virtuous Burglar, Shreeman Chor contrasts the philandering and deceitful life of a wealthy councillor with a petty thief’s straightforward one. The comedy-drama is directed by popular television and film actress and NSD alumna Vibha Chibber.
Roohein by Little Thespian, Kolkata (27 January)
Roohein is a play with multiple layers, each depicting the various shades of struggle—between the past and the present, the new and the old, right and wrong, democracy and aristocracy—under the direction of playwright Azhar Alam.
A Broken Chair by the Amateur Theatre Group, Jammu (28 January)
The play—directed by Mushtaq Kak, known for Andha Yug, Mallika and Pratibimb—delves into the relationship between three old friends, who meet one day at an unknown secluded location, and depicts the changes in their friendship over the years.