Treat awaits theatre lovers

Revisiting classics

Raining theatre: The play ‘Jokumaraswamy’ was performed to a packed audience at Vanaranga in Rangayana. (right below)  Rangayana campus has come alive with ‘Niranthara Ranga Utsava ‘. Dh PhotosA theatre festival dedicated to the champion of human rights and democracy recently freed leader Aung San Syu Ki. As Myanmar released the frail looking lady with her steely grit and determination, after nearly a decade of house arrest, the ‘Niranthara Ranga Utsava’, the annual theatre fest from Niranthara Foundation, being held at Rangayana received wide acclaim, when it hosted few of the best classics and plays based on social and political movements.

It is more than a month to go for the prestigious repertory Rangayana to host ‘Bahuroopi’ National theatre festival, the air in Rangayana is already abuzz with theatre activity with ‘Niranthara Utsava’. The mood is upbeat at the five-day fest as enthusiastic theatre lovers thronged to watch the plays everyday.

Since November 23, Vanaranga, the open stage with scenic Kukkarahalli lake in the background, of Rangayana treated packed audience to many significant plays in Kannada. In a rather befitting opening, nostalgia hung thick with magnum opus of theatre doyen B V Karanth’s ‘Sattavara Neralu’ — written by G B Joshi also known as ‘Jadabharata’ being staged. Karanth was also responsible for setting up of Rangayana and served as its first director.

Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Ghasiram Kothwal’ was staged the next day and Chandrashekhara Kambara’s ‘Jokumaraswamy’, the day after. All the plays, including Arere.. Kui Rama!!! directed by Suresh Anagalli, received tremendous response by the audience. The fest was a demonstration of renewed interest of the people in theatre and a approval of the hardwork and commitment that went into shaping Niranthara Foundation’s theatre activity.

Says Suguna, one of the founding members of Niranthara, all of the plays that were made under the forum sent a social message. Be it Badal Sarkar’s ‘Bhoma’ directed by S R Ramesh, Chinese playwright Laoshe’s ‘Tea House’ under the direction of former Rangayana director Chidambara Rao Jambe or the dance ballet ‘Koodala Sangama’ based on Basavanna’s vachanas, all productions were knit closely to the social and political upheavals of different periods. “Niranthara has worked for the cause of agriculture, folk forms, social values through theatre,” he told City Herald.

He believes that theatre has never lost its audience. They are always there. The glamour and glitter associated with movie, television and new media have made theatre look a little short of that sheen, he opines. 

The foundation experimented with the three-day state-level Niranthara Ranga Utsava last year to a moderate success.

As Niranthara returns with a bang with five-day theatre fest, it received a wider acclaim for bringing- Sattavara Neralu, Jokumaraswamy and Ghasiram Kothwal-which won the hearts of the theatre goers in the 70’s and 80’s. Jokumaraswamy was first directed by theatre legend late B V Karanth.

The final day of the fest (on Nov 27) will bring folk flavour from Jharkand. A troupe would present a traditional folk dance called “Chhau”, folk dance of Jharkand.

It’s Gurudev for ‘Bahuroopi - 2010’ 

Lingadevaru Halemane, Director of Rangayana said the unprecedented response to ‘Niranthara Ranga Utsava’, hosted jointly by the Niranthara and Rangayana has brought satisfaction. “More people are showing interest in theatre than in the past. It is a matter of happiness for all those associated with theatre. We will ensure that Bahuroopi is also a big ticket event for this year. Initially, we planned to hold the event from Jan 14, but postponed it to first week of February due to political uncertainity ,” he says.

He said the repertory was working on the theme Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore) for this year’s Bahuroopi. It coincides with 150th birth anniversary of Tagore. The fest would have play on Tagore’s life besides other subjects close to him along with a two-day seminar on the writer. 

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