The 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival 2017' which will be held from December 3 to 10, is sure to be a feast for the eyes with many spellbinding acts.
This year's festival has been curated and organised by Shiva Pathak from the Bengaluru-based 'Sandbox Collective'. The collective comprises of artists and curators who have worked in theatre for nearly two decades.
Looking back on the history of the festival, Shiva says, "The 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival' harks back to a time when amateur theatre ruled the scene in Bengaluru. Each play saw a maximum of five shows and there were only two to three venues in the city. It was also the time when the Bangalore of the 90s had given way to a more robust and vibrant theatre landscape with more than 100 theatre groups vying for performances space."
About the unique elements of the festival, he says, "This year's festival has been a re-imagination of sorts, a festival to reflect the reality of our times. It is a mixed offering and has big, spectacular works as well as works that are small and intimate."
"One of the major add-ons this year is the intercollegiate leg of the festival. With more and more youngsters entering the world of theatre, it is imperative that we include them to the ever-growing theatre fraternity of the city."
With the 'DH Inter-Collegiate Theatre Fete', the students will get an opportunity to showcase their performance as well as interact and engage with professional theatre companies and practitioners."Young people have been the backbone of theatre the world over. This year we have found a way to include them in the main festival. Very few colleges have dedicated theatre departments and even the ones that do are very insular. We hope a festival of this kind will expose the youth to professional theatre and provide them with an opportunity to not only watch but also interact with leading figures in the world of theatre," elaborates Shiva.
"There are hundreds of people who join the theatre fraternity every year, ones who have chosen to do full-time theatre. With numerous venues, big and small opening their doors to performers, there are more shows than ever in the city. Ten years ago, we possibly had two to three shows on any given day, even a weekend. Today, we have over 20 shows in different parts of the city. Bengaluru possibly has the most vibrant theater escape in the country today," he adds.
The theatre festival has big names like Prakash Belawadi, Arundhati Nag and Pawan Kumar associated with it.
Shiva says, "Arundhati Nag needs no introduction. A veteran both on the stage as well as in cinema, she will be seen on stage after a long hiatus, in one of the most celebrated plays in the history of theatre, 'Mother Courage and Her Children'. This play is written by the legendary Bertolt Brecht. The play is as relevant today as when it was written and has been performed by some of the biggest names in the world."
"Prakash is best known for his snappy style in the theatre. His foray into the world of cinema has only added to his popularity," he says.
"Pawan Kumar, best known as an award-winning film director, started off in the world of theatre and never quit theatre. He continues to stage his one man show at regular intervals and has a lasting interest in theatre," adds Shiva.
"Apart from 'Mother Courage and her Children', there are two other plays at the festival which are interesting," he adds.
"'A Little Calm Before the Storm' directed by Vandana Prabhu is an absurdly funny play about actors who portray Hitler. Prashanth Nair puts together a whacky set of comic sketches in 'A Funny Thing Called Life' that reflects the funny side of life," he sums up.