Sunday, October 30, 2011

National Theatre Festival for Children at palakkadu

The regional centre of the national school of drama (NSD RRC) is organizing a National theatre festival for Children at Municipal Town hall Palakkadu from 02nd 06th November 2011. Eight beautiful children’s plays from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will be performed in the fest. A theatre workshop for school teachers and a photo exhibition is also arranged along with the fest. The plays are scheduled at 6.30 in the evening.

Prof. Kumara Varma will inaugurate in festival at 6.30 pm on th second in which Chandradasan is the chief guest. Suresh Anagally, the director of NSD RRC will participate in the function.

nai mari1

The inaugural play is Nai Mari Natakam, in Kannada, written by Vydehi, directed by Jeevan Ram Sulia, and performed by Alvas education foundation, Moodbidri, Karnataka. Vaidehi born in 1945, in Kundapura, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka is a well-known Kannada fiction writer and poet, renowned for her espousal of the cause of women. Her writings, generally described as post-modernist, depict the plight of women in an indignant and rebellious tone. A versatile writer, she writes short fiction, novels, essays, children’s plays and poems.

On the third Land of Pongo in Tamil directed by Shanmukharaja and performed by comfort international school Coimbatore, and Kanniyude Makkal based on a story by Ravindranatha Tagore, directed by Gopi Kuttikkol and performed by Sunday theatre Kasargodu will be performed.

chipko chipko (4)

On the fourth two Malayalam plays are scheduled. They are Cyclist written by Vijay Tendulkar and directed by Satyabhama for Navarang Palakkadu, and Chipko, Chipko written and directed by Shirly Somasundaran for Mazhavillu Kochi, Kerala.

Chipko Chipko is based on this year’s World Environment Day message — Forest, Nature at your service; and is based on the lives of the 363 Bishnoi women who sacrificed their lives to protect trees in 1773. The protests by the Bishnoi women against felling of trees to build King Abhay Singh’s palace is considered the first attempt by women to safeguard trees in history.

On the 05th of November the plays are Mandrika Kannadi written and directed by KV Ganesh, for Rangachethana Trissur, will be followed by Kaboolivalayum Makkalum written by Tagore and directed by Asok Sasi for Rangaprabhath Thiruvananthapuram will be performed.

On the last day  “Sadako – Savira Kokkugalu,” Kannada adaptation of the Malayalam play written by Vayala Vasudevan Pillai, performed by the Kinnara Mela team from Tumari, directed by B.R. Venkataramana Aithal will be performed.

The inauguration of the valedictory function will be inaugurated by PV Krishnan Nair, the secretary of Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi and the chief guest is Prof.G.Dileepan.

It is good to see that all the childrens theatre groups that are continuously working in Kerala are represented in this festival. The festival is organised by the local cooperation of Navarang Palakkadu.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gursharan Singh passes away (1929-2011)

gursharan-singh-2aGURSHARAN SINGH, Director, playwright and legendary stalwart of modern Punjabi Theatre, born in Multan, Punjab, on September 16, 1929, passed away in Chandigarh, on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

The legendary theatre artist, playwright and director, Gursharan Singh, affectionately called Bhai Manna Singh (after the character he created through his plays), was 82 and was struggling from illness for quite a long time.

He had created the rural theatre in Punjab with modern sensibilities, written and performed widely, and was instrumental in creating a socially meaningful theatre in Punjab, after the IPTA era. . Gursharan Singh was a "revolutionary, missionary and a socialist", who brought Punjabi folk and rural theatre to the forefront. The history of post independent Punjabi theatre is created by him, and has nurtured and groomed younger directors like Kewal Dhaliwal.

“It is a long battle, the battle of changing mindsets,” Gursharan Singh, once said of his theatre movement.

Gursharan Singh, an engineer created a cultural revolution in Punjab through his new genre of theatre called Tharra theatre (‘platform’ theatre, a kind of street theatre) He performed widely from interior villages in rural Punjab to the corridors of power in Delhi.

Gursharan-Singh-450x292Theatre for him was more a social activity, to convey a message, and to change the course of the society than an activity of ‘art or aesthetics’. His theatre talked about his society, its injustices, and was not concentrating on the ‘finer aspects of aesthetics, that may cater to the elite. He had a definite purpose for is theatre - the betterment of society and voicing the bitter reality that is seldom expressed.

Whenever he found that social injustice is prevailing and forces of oppression that suppresses the masses, he stood up with his theatre. He sensitized the people at the grass roots level against the social evil and unethical values prevalent in the system through the medium of theatre’. As actor, author or director, Singh aimed at a theatre for social change and for civil rights

He was a leftist to the core, a sympathiser of the Naxal movement; when youngsters were being killed by the police in fake encounters during the Naxalite movement in the 1970s, he questioned the state’s acts through Kiv Koorrey Tuttey Paal

During the dark days of Emergency, when freedom of expression was numbed by silencing he came up with the play Bund Kumre and was eventually put in jail in September 1976 . He was arrested under a trumped-up charge of “training the youth to blow up a bridge.” After going through the charge sheet the magistrate laughed and said, “it would have been better to implicate him in some theatre activity case.”

GursharanSingh-bWhen the militancy and separatist movement nabbed Punjab in the 80’s Gursharan Singh dared to voice against the militancy movement as well as the blind military actions of the state. He and his team toured the nook and corners of Punjab staging plays like hamak Nagare dee, Bhai Mana Singh, and Miti da Mul which attacked the militant separatist movement directly. At the height of Sikh terrorism he continued to perform, regardless of the threat to his life. It was natural that he has to fight against the militants as well as the state power, but his plays and life was protected by the farmers and the village folk. Their anguish was reflected in the works of Gursharan Bhai, and it is those words which they wanted to speak aloud was echoed through his characters. The silent cries of the millions of poor, the marginalized of society, the people who for centuries have not been allowed to speak

When state terrorism was silencing every voice of dissent, he challenged them by staging Hit List in Amritsar

He worked relentlessly for an egalitarian society, gender equality and workers’ rights. He was the one who forced the state to make mention of the mother’s name in school certificates necessary.

“Dhamak Nagare Di” , “Chandni Chownk tu Sirhind Tak”, “Baba Bolda Hai”, “Kammiyan da Wehda” are a few of his very important and famous plays.

His theatre group also produced some world classics by Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett in Punjabi, and he himself penned some of the most memorable dramas written in Punjabi language.

Gursharan Singh won several awards from Kalidas Samman and a fellow of the National Sangeet Natak Akademy.