The calendar for Delhi’s theatre stage began on a biographical note with Atmakatha compelling Kulbhushan Kharbanda to make a comeback to theatre. Staged first for the opening of 15th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) by National School of Drama and later during Old World Culture’s theatre festival, the play set a sombre mood which lingered throughout the year.
The seriousness towards the stage could be noticed in the international performances that were staged as part of BRM, followed by the Mahindra Excellence In Theatre Awards (META) which focused a lot on regional performances. One of these was the performance of The Old Man and the Sea by Remembrance Theatre Group from Kerala.
Among these established names, the calendar also incorporated other festivals by individual theatre groups such as ‘Rang’ by Films and Theatre Society (FTI) which tried to bring literature, films, photography and films together.
An interesting entry to the calender was the Theatre-In-Motion festival which began on a high note trying to make theatre a part of nation’s entertainment by bringing together some of the most trusted names from the fraternity. After crossing some technical glitches, it did make its presence felt among theatre-enthusiasts in the City.
While stalwarts continued working in their own style, presenting one production at a time such as Feisal Alkazi’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, some more classical adaptations were noticed at a much smaller-scale such as Euripides’s Medea by Kanchan Ujjal Singh from Saanjha Sapnaa.
A refreshing change from the routine was the performances by troupes from Mumbai showcasing their expertise in craft of the stage. Delhiites also got a delightful chance to enjoy performances by thespians – Naseeruddin Shah (during the play A Walk in the Woods) and Anupam Kher (for the single-act play Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai).
The offerings from Mumbai did not stop at these. The laughter that Company Theatre’s performance of Noises Off evoked still resonates in the air and Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince remains a favourite of theatre-lovers.
As the air turned cold, so did the response of Delhiites for theatre which left stalwarts unhappy. Add to this dismal scenario other irritants – the non-stop chattering and mobile ringtones that just did not blend with the surround sound!