Two international festivals, namely 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav organized by National School of Drama and 21st Ganga-Jamuna Nattautshab organized by Anik Theatre, are underway in India. Three Bangladeshi theatre troupes are participating in the 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav while the other one is featuring six Bangladeshi theatre troupes.
The 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav is an international festival taking place in New Delhi and five other cities: Dibrugarh (Assam), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Mysore (Karnataka) and Rajkot (Gujarat). The festival is staging 111 shows and hosting different activities such as director's meeting and discussion among the living legends and master class theatre troupes. Fame School of Dance, Drama & Music with their production ‘Oedipus’, Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Dhaka with ‘Macbeth’ and Nagorik Natya Sampradaya with ‘The Open Couple’ from Bangladesh are participating in this fest.
Fame School of Dance, Drama & Music, a Chattogram-based organization led by Ashim Das, staged Sophocles’ ‘King Oedipus’. Prior to the start of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus becomes the king of Thebes while unwittingly fulfilling a prophecy that he would kill his father, Laius (the previous king), and marry his mother, Jocasta (whom Oedipus took as his queen after solving the riddle of the Sphinx). The action of Sophocles' play concerns Oedipus' search for the murderer of Laius in order to end a plague ravaging Thebes, unaware that the killer he is looking for is none other than himself. At the end of the play, after the truth finally comes to light, Jocasta hangs herself while Oedipus, horrified at his patricide and incest, proceeds to gouge out his own eyes in despair. Oedipus Rex is regarded by many scholars as the masterpiece of ancient Greek tragedy.
Ashim Das, director of the play, said about the production, “Staging such a play was a challenge for me. I have read Oedipus and other plays more than 100 times. I was thrilled, mesmerized and spell-bound by the depth of the plots and use of the riddles every time. Because of the presence of so many metaphorical references in the plot it was indeed a difficult task for me to bring Oedipus alive on stage.”Another performance of the festival was ‘The Open Couple’ by Nagorik Natya Sampradaya. The play, written by Dario Fo and Franca Rame, and adapted by Sara Zaker, is the story of a couple where the husband is having multiple affairs. The wife goes crazy and wants to kill herself every time she discovers her husband’s latest affair with yet another woman. As the plot develops, the husband convinces his wife to accept the concept of ‘open relationship’. As the story moves on, the husband discovers that the wife too has fallen in love with another man. His wife’s happiness makes him very angry and jealous. Now the husband starts behaving like his wife and tries to kill himself. The wife, in turn, now pacifies him and urges him to have a conversation on this matter. Sara Zaker and Ziaul Hasan have portrayed the role of the couple.
On the other hand, six-day-long 21st Ganga-Jamuna Nattautshab, where troupes are scheduled to stage eight plays, was inaugurated on February 12, 2019. On the opening day, Mahakal Natto Sampraday staged their most acclaimed play ‘Nillakhyan’ (based on National poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s short story ‘Sapure’), written by Anan Zaman and directed by Yusuf Hassan. Bibartan Jessore’s ‘Bratto Ami Montroheen’ and Monipuri Theatre’s ‘Kohe Birangona’ were also staged. In the coming days Dhaka Padatik’s ‘Hefajot’ and ‘Kotha Ekattor’, Amader Theatre Dinajpur’s ‘Khoto-Bikkhoto’ and Arannyak’s popular plays ‘Sangkranti’ and ‘Rarang’ will be held at the fest.