Ranga Shankara theatre festival opens Nov 1 

It features six plays in four languages, and asks hard questions, says artistic director Arundhati Nag
Last Updated : 25 October 2022, 19:17 IST
Last Updated : 25 October 2022, 19:17 IST
Last Updated : 25 October 2022, 19:17 IST
Last Updated : 25 October 2022, 19:17 IST

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Justice is the theme of the latest edition of the Ranga Shankara theatre festival, slated from November 1 to 6.

The annual fest features six plays this year in Kannada, Tamil, English and Hindi.

“This year, the theme is ‘Just Theatre’. We felt that we needed to instigate our own theatre industry and our audience into looking at more serious ideas. Lately, life has become so complicated that everybody wants a good laugh. But you also need to watch things that make you think, make you question. We can’t all be passive consumers of entertainment,” says Arundhati Nag, managing trustee and artistic director, Ranga Shankara.

This will be the 18th edition of the fest. “Since its launch in 2005, we have done various themes, such as love, tragedy, comedy and politics. One year, we did ‘Not the metro’, and only chose plays from the small towns. The theme helps us bring to Bengaluru plays from across India,” she says.

It opens with a poetry session curated by Mamta Sagar and Prathibha Nandakumar, followed by a Ranga Shankara-produced play spearheaded by Maya Rao. The day ends with the premiere of ‘Dakla Katha Devi Kavya’, a Kannada play by Jangama Collective. Written and directed by Laksmana K P, it sheds light on the topics of untouchability, monarchy and patriarchy.

Five plays are slated over the subsequent five days. “All the plays and events make you question the term ‘just’, and your judgement of it,” says Arundhati. Shows begin at 7.30 pm. Ranga Shankara will also have an installation asking the audience ‘Are you a just person or are you just a person?’.

“The festival is filled with simple, small instigating points that will make you think and ponder,” she says.

While the festival followed a hybrid model last year, it is fully offline this year. “While online is a convenient platform, it means more work. We’re trained to be in the real world, so taking the event to the digital world was not easy. Now, I believe it is time for everyone to get out of their houses,” she says.

During the festival, Ranga Shankara will also present the ninth Shankar Nag Award to two outstanding theatre persons below 40. The awardees gets a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

(Tickets available online and at the Ranga Shankara box office.)

Show list

Nov 1: ‘Dakla Katha Devi Kavya’ by Jangama Collective (Kannada, written and directed by Lakshmana K P)

Nov 2: ‘There is Something in the Water’ by Akvarious Productions. (English, Henrik Ibsen, dir: Akarsh Khurana.)

Nov 3: ‘Taking Sides’ by The Company Theatre. (English, Ronald Harwood, dir: Atul Kumar)

Nov 4: ‘Idakini Kathaiaratham’ by Manalmagudi Theatre Land. (Tamil, written and directed by S Murugaboopathy.)

Nov 4 and 5: ‘Other Voices’, an intimate reading session with Ratna Pathak Shah.

Nov 5: ‘1984’ by Unicorn Actors’ Studio. (Hindi, George Orwell, dir: Happy Ranajit.)

Nov 6: ‘Apne Ghar Jaisa’ by Ranga Shankara. (Hindi, written and directed by Anmol Vellani.)

Short plays

Five Bengaluru colleges are staging a performance each, from November 2 to 6, 6 pm on the theme of justice.

One college performs each day for 20 minutes. The colleges taking part are Jyothi Nivas College, Christ (deemed to be university), Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, The Valley School, and Surana College.

Published 25 October 2022, 19:09 IST

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