Spotlight on almost banned plays

Spotlight on almost banned plays

The Ranga Shankara theatre festival is back, and its 15th edition is dedicated to plays that barely survived bans.

The Ranga Shankara theatre festival is back, and its 15th edition is dedicated to plays that barely survived bans.

The theme of the nine-day festival is ‘Plays That Almost Weren’t’ and the focus is on bold plays that faced opposition but did not back off. The festival is on from October 27 to November 4.

Vivek Madan, director of the festival, says the idea is to create a platform for artistes “whom Rangashankara had never heard of and vice versa.” This is the first time Rangashankara has taken up such a theme, he told Metrolife.

The festival also features debates and lectures about censorship in art. Other topics: ‘How do you compose a street play with a message but also retain the craft of the street play?’, ‘How do you write a song that is musically appealing but also carries a message?’, ‘How do you translate an idea about social issues into a song?’

To kick off, Janam, a theatre group from Delhi, staged a street play called ‘Tathagat’, written and directed by Abhishek Majumdar, at places across Bengaluru on October 24.

Tathagat (Hindi, 35 min) explores the ideas of caste and gender, rebellion and nationalism, freedom and courage. Expanding on the idea of tark (reason) in Buddhist philosophy, it tells a story using the characters of a vain king, a defiant queen, a rebellious sculptor, a courageous daasi, and a conniving courtier. It examines the difference between a ‘traitorous’ and a ‘rebellious’ act.

Nine plays from across India

Here is a ready reckoner for theatre lovers

October 27

Ahalya B D (Kannada)

Adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler

Dir: Surendranath

Ranga Shankara,



October 28

Rajendra Laxmi (Nepali)

Dir: Namrata K C

The Aesthetic Dance

Studio, Kathmandu


October 29

Dohri Zindagi (Hindi, Marwadi)

Based on a Vijaydaan

Dehta short story.

Dir: Gurleen Judge

Rahi Theatre, Mumbai


October 30

Animal Farm (English, Kannada, Hindi)

Based on Orwell book of the same name.

Dir: Nelson Bond

Director: Prashanth Nair

Tahatto, Bengaluru


October 31

I am Not Here (English, Kannada, Hindi)

Dir: Deepika Arwind

Inspired by Gurdeep Kaur Bhatti’s ‘Behzti’ and Joanna Russ’s ‘How to

Suppress Women’s

Writing.’The Lost Post Initiative, Bengaluru


November 1

Ammi Jaan (Kannada, Dakhini Urdu)

Dir: Satchit Puranik

Adaptation of Dario Fo and France Rame.

The Laughing Cavalier, Bengaluru


November 2

Chandala, impure (Tamil)

Dir: Koumarane Valavane

Indianostrum Theatre, Pondicherry

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo Juliet’.


November 3

Mahish  (Hindi)

Dir: Neel Sengupta

Adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

Third Space Collective, New Delhi


November 4

Rakshas (Hindi)

Dir: Bikram Ghosh

Adaptation of Yevgeny Schwartz’s The Dragon

The Tadpole Repertory, New Delhi