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Theatre Carnival

A lot is happening on stage across the country. Here's a glimpse of what the busy calendar has to offer

Indulekha Aravind  |  Banglore 

BANGLORE Indulekha Aravind

Theatre fans in Bangalore have a lot to look forward to this month, starting with Ranga Shankara’s annual festival. Inspired by the Globe to Globe theatre festival held in London earlier this year, the theme this time is the Bard, with six plays from five countries.

The festival, now a week old, opened with Atul Kumar’s Piya Behrupiya, a hilarious adaptation of in Hindi that had join in the standing ovation at the end. The second week will have international productions, beginning with an adaption of It by the Marjanishvili Theatre from Georgia. Later in the week, a troupe from South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, will perform Cymbeline in Juda Arabic, while The Theatre Company from Kenya will present what festival director Gayathri Krishna promises will be “a rip-roaring” take on the Merry Wives of Windsor.

Month end brings a performance of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea, the result of a collaboration between Abhinaya Theatre Research from Thiruvananthapuram and Brisbane-based Topology, and a return to Shakespeare with Nothing Like Lear, a play in English and gibberish, directed by Rajat Kapoor.

Across town, Jagriti’s season 2012 draws to a close with Nobel-prize winning Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From The Zoo, a series of monologues on the sexual subjugation of women. Jagriti had first performed the play in 1990 but this will be an entirely new production, says director Kirtana Kumar. “This play was written by Fo and Rame in the 1970s... we’ve had to find the ways in which it resonates with us and other young people today,” says Kumar.

Also promising is an adaption of Camus’s The Plague, part of Alliance Francaise’s celebration of the novelist’s birth centenary next year. The play is set in 19th century Bangalore, during the outbreak of the plague that ravaged the city and “resulted in all sorts of interesting developments, like the creation of a new goddess, Plague Amma, new areas coming up and others emptying,” says director Vivek Narayan. “The play is about the epidemic but it is also a portrayal of a historic episode.”

(For details, visit;;

MUMBAI Arghya Ganguly

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d already know about the (November 3-18) at Juhu that is back after a two-year hiatus. The festival has been part of the theatrical calendar since 1983. This November, for two weeks, 41 performances have been lined up. (English), playing on November 4 (6 and 9 pm), directed by Ratna Pathak-Shah and starring and should be the “Act I, Scene I” of your festival narrative. is about two diplomats, an Indian and a Pakistani, who take a private walk in the woods, in the middle of their peace talk, to try and achieve a breakthrough in the muddled negotiations between the two countries.

Although there is no Anurag Kashyap and Sonali Kulkarni in the cast this time around, it shouldn’t stop you from watching Makarand Deshpande’s Sir Sir Sarla (Hindi) on November 13 (5 and 8 pm). Deshpande has revived the play just for the festival. It’s an unfelt, untold story of an English Literature professor (played by Deshpande himself) and his students after they have graduated. On November 15 (11 am) Kyun Kyun Ladki (Hindi) takes you on a “journey through the magical world of questions”. Shaili Sathyu adapts Mahashweta Devi’s popular picture story book, Why Why Girl, in this play to celebrate the innocent curiosity of children. Also watch out for Nadira Babbar’s Begum Jaan, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar’s Kaifi Aur Main, MS Sathyu’s Moteram and Nandita Das’ Between the Lines.

You could also head to the NCPA Tata Theatre on November 18 (7.30 pm) to catch Paresh Rawal in Kishan v/s Kanhaiya. Kishan, a small-time conman and antique dealer, is an atheist married to a devout woman. The couple often argue over their divergent stance on religion and faith, and their constant conflict gives rise to some hilarious moments. However, a dramatic twist in Kishan’s life overturns his rational outlook and compels him to reconsider the existence of God.

KOLKATA Debaleena Sengupta

The big production to watch out for this month is Swapnasandhani’s Macbeth — the contemporised interpretation of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy by playwright

Regarded as the ‘bloodiest’ of all Shakespearean tragedies, the play has become the talk of the town with many associating its plot to the political churning which Bengal has been through. “We have not deviated from the original Shakespearean plot but the conclusion of my play is a reminder that the fall of do not necessarily end the evils and wrongdoings,” says Sen. will be staged at the Academy of Fine Arts on November 24 at 3 pm.

Thereafter, December will begin with a treat for theatre lovers with theatre festival, Kolkata Natya Mela (December2-9).

Forty theatre groups from across the state will showcase their productions at the festival. The major attraction promises to be Epic actors’ workshop, a theatre group from United States which will perform at Rabindra Sadan auditorium on December 3. The group will stage a play on the Bhopal gas tragedy to commemorate 28 years of suffering and the prolong battle of the victims for justice.

City-based theatre group, Nandikar will bring Anto Adi Anto —a Bengali adaptation of the French play La Musica by Marguerite Duras. Anto Adi Anto is the story of a man and a women who recollect their moments together when they meet to collect their formal decree papers three years after their separation. Back from their divorce proceedings, they come to the hotel where they had stayed during the first few weeks of their life together.

The one performance that Kolkata will, however, miss is actor-musician Anjan Dutt’s version of Brecht’s Galileo. There are no more shows of it this year. Those who wish to watch Dutt return to stage will have to wait till January 2013.

DELHI Aabhas Sharma

A play on the pangs of Partition, three plays on Premchand’s stories and one based on folktales from China, Japan and South Korea are some of things on Delhi’s theatre menu this month.

Fans of Premchand’s stories are in for a treat. Three of his famous stories would be performed on stage. Do Bailon ki Katha, which underlines the feelings and sensibilities of animals. This is the story of Heera and Moti, two oxen, who are passed on to an unkind owner. Shatranj ke Khiladi, set in the era of Wajid Ali Shah, this is the story of two Nawabs for whom their game of chess comes over and above their province. And, Nimantran — one of Premchand’s finest comic stories about Pandit Chintamani who eats to live.

Then there’s Toba Tek Singh, based on the life of Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an asylum in Lahore. Sadat Hasan Manto’s poignant story about the madness and confusion that came with Partition still holds the power to touch the soul. To be staged at India Habitat Center on November 17 and 18.

Also catch Three Oriental Tales, stories for children performed in the countries’ traditional styles, at the Epicentre at Apparel House in Gurgaon on November 14. Apart from this, Delhi-based theatre company Atelier will host the sixth episode of its Campus Theatre Movement with Atelier’s Campus Festival 2012. This year, the festival has expanded its reach and has invited acting troupes from Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur and Chandigarh. The festival is spread over 16 days with over 45 performances.

Take some time out to catch the gripping street theatre performances in English and Hindi as well as guest performances for writer-directors Saurabh Shukla and Piyush Mishra. Stage performances by college teams will take place at LTG and Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi from November 5 to November 11.

For the complete schedule of performances, visit

First Published: Sun, November 04 2012. 00:53 IST