Spotlight on theatre music at NSD’s annual fest

January 2nd, 2010 - 8:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) The legacy of music in Indian theatre, experimental plays, creative forms of expressions and new wave theatre with an ethnic flavour from small towns will be the highlights of the annual theatre festival of the National School of Drama (NSD) Jan 6-22.
Billed as the largest festival of theatre in Asia, 12th edition of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav will present 87 plays in eight locations across the capital and in Bhopal, NSD chairperson Amal Allana told the media Saturday.

The festival will begin with a series on ‘music in theatre’ directed by Bansi Kaul at the Kamani Auditorium.

Some of the important plays to be staged at the festival include “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” directed by Naseeruddin Shah, “Hamlet, the Clown Prince” by Rajat Kapoor, Rajnaitik Hatya (based on “Crime Passionel”) directed by Saoli Mitra, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play “When the Dead Awaken” by Ratan Thiyam and the first ever play in the Thangkul Naga dialect from northeastern India, “Ashang Eina Aton”.

“The National School of Drama is dedicated to training and this festival is an extension of the training process. This time, the festival will encourage young and experimental theatre and new formats of expression to see where the country’s theatre movement is heading and explore the new boundaries that can be crossed. The idea is to provide a platform for a vibrant future of Indian contemporary theatre,” Allana said.

Thirteen countries - China, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and France, UK and Italy - will take part in the festival, some of them for the first time, the NSD chairperson said.

The highlights of the festival will be two special sessions - a series of nine expositions exploring the impact and legacy of music in Indian theatre titled “Natyanaad” and “Natya Manthan”, a two-day round-table Jan 7-8 to debate on issues like censorship in theatre, theatre portals, archives and the relationship between theatre, medicine and science.

“Indian theatre and music have been inseparable. Since the time of Bal Gandharva, who sang on Marathi stage in the 19th century, stalwarts like Rabindranath Tagore, Habib Tanvir, Mohan Upreti, K.N. Panniker and B.V. Karanth have used music extensively in Indian theatre. In the 1970s, the Indian stage witnessed a theatre of the roots movement when we went back to folk traditions. Karanth used to say ’speak your lines in such a way so that they sound like music’,” Allana told IANS.

The “Natyanaad” series will comprise of songs by different theatre companies from across the country accompanied by narratives.

Shedding light on the nature of representation, NSD director Anuradha Kapur said: “India is seeing interesting genres of theatre. This year, we have tried to broaden the horizon of the festival to see the formats of theatre that engages young India. We are also bringing folk-based new language theatre from places like Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Murshidabad in West Bengal. Contemporary expressions like mixed forms, gibberish and non-verbal theatre will also find place in the festival in 16 languages.”

Altogether 450 plays were submitted to the NSD for selection to the festival.

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