Posts Tagged ‘play’

"The First Leaf" by, and at, Ranga Shankara

“The First Leaf”, a special play for children in English, will be staged at Ranga Shankara from 26-28 August 2008 at 7.30 pm.

“The First Leaf” is a production of AHA! Ranga Shankara’s Theatre for Children initiative. Padmavati Rao, who has previously served as Assistant Director on Shankar Nag’s popular TV serial, Malgudi Days, directs the play. The translation into English from the original by Shrirang Godbole is by the director. Padmavati has also co-directed AHA!’s other production “Gumma Banda Gumma” in Kannada.

Music for “The First Leaf” is by Bhavataarini, daughter of the famous composer, Ilayaraja.

This play opened in December last year to an appreciative audience of children and adults. Till date, over 6200 children have enjoyed the play through the Deccan Herald’s Newspaper in Education programme.

“The First Leaf” tells the inspiring story of Putti, her brother Dodu and friend Chinna who live in a time of imminent environmental catastrophe, which is as real as today and looms as close as tomorrow. The three young students explore their surroundings through fantasy and fun with the new tenant in their residential complex, who breathes new meaning into all he touches and encounters. The lesson ultimately learnt is one of protecting Plant Earth.


Several Good Plays Coming Up at Ranga Shankara

I have seen “The Suit”, and “1,Madhav Baug”…and recommend them to theatregoers!

(Tickets for all plays except 1, Madhav Bagh are available at Ranga Shankara
and For 1, Madhav Bagh, tickets will be sold 20 mins
before each show (25 tickets per show)


The details of four special plays to be staged at Ranga Shankara from Aug
14th to 17th are enclosed.

*The Suit and Nagamandala, directed by Neelam Mansingh*

Contemporary Indian theatre has a few proud ambassadors. Neelam Mansingh
Chowdhary is counted among the top of them. Born and raised in the UK,
Neelam studied in National School of Drama, New Delhi and has been running a
theatre company of her own called “The Company” from Chandigarh.

Apart from being invited to all the major festivals in India, Neelam is in
the forefront of Indian theatre artistes whose work is invited abroad to
much praise and awe. She is a regular on the international theatre festival
circuit and even in countries like Japan where acceptance and
appreciation are difficult and rare.

Her plays have won praise for combining western classical writing with a
performance style grounded in Punjabi aesthetics by incorporating music,
ritualistic elements and images that endeavour to communicate as strongly as
words. Her *Nagamandala *is considered to be one of Girish Karnad’s
masterpieces and Neelam Mansingh’s *Nagamandala *is regarded as the best
production of the play.

*The Whale, by Concrete Temple Theater, New York*

Adapted by Renee Philippi and Carlo Adinolfi and directed by Renee Philippi,
*The Whale *tells the tale of Captain Ahab and his maniacal pursuit of the
ever-elusive White Whale.

* **1, Madhav Baug — presented under Ranga Shankara’s “Other Voices”***

Chetan Datar’s “1 Madhav Baug” is an intimate rendition of a mother about
her son, performed by Revathi Menon. The acclaimed actor-director from
Chennai made her debut in theatre with this piece and has travelled with it
to the Jaipur Literary Festival and Hyderabad as well. “1 Madhav Baug” is
directed by Mariam Jetpurwala. The translation is by Shanta Gokhale.

"Antaryatra" at Ranga Shankara

India Foundation for the Arts today presented “Antaryatra” (“The Journey Within the Self”), directed and performed by Usha Ganguli, at Ranga Shankara.

The play was a self-referential one; Usha has led the theatre group, “Rangakarmee”, for about 25 years now. She spoke of her experiences as an actress (sorry, actor is the pc word to use, but here, the word has a specific gender meaning!)…and of her journey from the very first nervous day at the theatre, through the various roles she has enacted, as well as the many women she had come into contact with…all of which has shaped her life. As she said, “If I had learnt it in a school, I would not have learnt so much, or been moulded so much…”

Usha slipped in and out of the sutradhar’s part, and in and out of the characters of either the women in the plays, or the women in her life, effortlessly. Her mobile face expressed every emotion beautifully; that mobility allowed me to gloss over the couple of occasions when she fluffed her lines (and surely it must be a very difficult task to sustain a monologue for 75 minutes non-stop!).

The dramatization opened with memories of Kolkata…and being a Kolkata-childhood person myself, I empathized perfectly. Her training in classical dance informed her movements on stage, and they were fluid and graceful, and it was a delight to watch her for this reason alone, if not for her emoting!


"Antaryatra" at Ranga Shankara on 30th July

India Foundation for the Arts



Directed and Performed by Usha Ganguli

Produced by Rangakarmee

Supported by Sobha Developers

July 30th, Ranga Shankara 7:30 pm


"Sapne" (Hindi) as part of Sanchay by Mashaal

It’s a long time since we had Hindi theatre here…and now it’s in the offing….

Mashaal brings to you Sanchay. Sanchay (meaning ‘Collection’ in Hindi) is a new initiative by Mashaal which aims to showcase on stage, a few short pieces of theatrical performances, different from one another in content & presentation, but united by a common theme.

Theme : Sapne
Language : Hindi
Date & Time : 27th July, 7:30 p.m.
Location : CFD (Centre for Film and Drama)
Duration : 60-70 minutes
Entry : Rs. 75
For bookings contact: +91 9739803104 or


"The Woman In Me" at Ranga Shankara

An intense, absorbing play…that was “The Woman In Me”, by Pawan Kumar , that was staged on Thursday and today at Ranga Shankara.


A view of the various plays that ACTof has put up, displayed at the Ranga Shankara foyer.

Rajiv and Nina are a married couple…and Nina is raped and murdered by three men when she goes to a party thrown by the airline that she works for, as an air hostess. Rajiv is a writer, not entirely comfortable at his being at home while Nina puts the bread on the table…

Pawan Kumar slips in and out of the personae of Nina and Rajiv, which confront Rajiv (the audience was not introduced to the actor who played Rajiv, or to the crew, on Friday at least…Pawan, you MUST introduce everyone to the audience at the end, even if this takes a few minutes.), played by another very talented actor. As the woman in the man confronts the man with truths that he doesn’t want to admit to himself, layers get peeled away….murder, rape, marriage…what is the definition of all these?

Pawan did fluff his lines a bit at the beginning of the play..but then, his ability to slip into a female persona which is so credible even when he is putting in the balloons in his bustline, and tying the saree on stage….that was superb.

The sequences where Rajiv and Nina reach out to each other, with superb lighting, made for a visual treat.

The props were: two water closets which served as the seating focus, with books, toilet paper, alcohol bottles, and other deteritus of daily life strewn around; two washbasins facing each other, with two buckets (with a fish in each of them, how symbolic!) and two mugs….the toilet was even “used” by “Rajiv” at one point.


Powerful performances from both the actors enhanced the intense mood of the play.


The rapid-fire delivery of dialogue by both of them in one sequence brought home the fevered pitch of thought. The use of shadows to show what happens to Nina is innovative.


The sound was well managed throughout, and voices carried clearly even when Pawan was “behind” stage.

The play disturbed me and made me think hard; I am very impressed that such a young man is able to delve so deeply into the male and female psyche and bring out the nuances of how men do not even understand when they are raping their own wives…

Strongly recommended! (though I would not ask someone who wants a little light entertainment after work, in the evening, to watch this play.) I think that ACTor is a very talented theatre group, and I hope that they go from success to success…

"The Final Rehearsal"….excellent

I went today to watch “The Final Rehearsal” by ACTor Productions, Bangalore , and came away very impressed with a theatre group that seems to have got its…er…act together, with a very talented team, led by Pawan Kumar.

The play is all about competition, winning and losing….acceptance and rejection. An actor describes his experiences, working his way up the ladder (from playing a tree in Macbeth, where he artistically sways to and fro) to finally getting the part of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, only to lose it because when he trips over Browniel (more about this character later) he drops the actor playing Caesar…and that’s the director’s son!

The dialogue was very well-written, with that touch for the everyday phrase that is so natural when spoken. But Pawan did hurry up the diction a little, and I hope he slows it down for his next show. However, his grasp of (at least the well-known lines of) Shakespeare helped him a lot with his excellent comic timing; the spoof speech on “to act or not to act” brought the house down! And in the one or two places that Pawan did fluff the dialogue a bit, it was as if it was the Actor that was doing it; it didn’t seem out of place.

As the actor faces multiple rejections in each of the reality shows or the productions that he compromises his principles to act in, he breaks down….

One of the most impressive facets of the show was Pawan’s use of props. A chair, Browniel (I hope I have the spelling right!) Funich (“derived from Furniture”) the folding chair, is a character by himself. The Actor has a love-hate relationship with Browniel, and the sequence where the chair and he have an altercation was a great piece of theatre-gymnastics!

Also, I would not have believed earlier that one sheet of white cloth can become: the foliage of a tree,Othello’s cape, Macbeth’s witch’s robes, a soldier’s armour, Banquo’s ghost, Caesar’s shroud, the dead Caesar himself, a trumpet, an actor’s microphone, a plain bed sheet, Gandhi’s spinning mat, a ragpicker’s backpack, and the defendant’s enclosure in a court….truly innovative! Are you not intrigued about how this can be done? Pawan is certainly well-versed in stagecraft and mime.


Two plays,"The Final Rehearsal", and "The Woman in Me", by Pawan Kumar at Ranga Shankara

Pawan Kumar is staging two of his plays, “The Final Rehearsal”, and “The Woman in Me”, at Ranga Shankara ; the first on July 15 and 16 at 7.30pm, and the second on July 17 and 18, at the same time.

“The Final Rehearsal” is a dark comedy about a reality show, which was written in 2002. “The Woman in Me” is about how men look at women, and touches on women’s issues.

Pawan Kumar is also making his mark in writing the story and screenplay for Bollywood movies, and is preparing to direct a Kannada movie in October.

AHA! Theatre festival at Ranga Shankara

Ranga Shankara and DHNiE (Deccan Herald Newspapers in Education) are staging a theatre festival, which will kick off on July15, and will feature a total of 35 shows till the end of August.

The festival starts off with “Gumma Bande Gumma” (an adaptation of the German play, “Max Und Milli”, from July 15 to 18. The play is about a child’s ability to connect to others regardless of adult restrictions.

This play will be followed by “The First Leaf”, written by Padmavati Rao. The play is about Putti, her brothers Dodu and Chinna, and their neighbours, facing the challenges of a middle-class family.


Why I will not go to any play at Chowdiah on weekdays…..

I live in south Bangalore, and there was a time when Chowdiah was *the* venue for all theatre. But, after having gone yesterday (Friday, 11th July 2008) for a play at Chowdiah, I have resolved not to go there again, if it is a weekday. This, of course, is a purely personal decision, but here are the reasons why:

1. First, and foremost…..if I do what most of my fellow-Bangaloreans do and drive a car…..the traffic. No matter how many flyovers and underpasses and magic boxes have been built, the traffic volumes make sure that the roads are so choked in the evening that the vehicles just inch forward in clouds of smoke and roars of revving engines. I do hate sitting in a car which is at idling speed, guzzling petrol, and releasing fumes into the air, along with all the other vehicles doing the same thing.

Yesterday, we *had* to take the car; we left for Chowdiah at 5.45pm…and got back at 11.40 pm. Six hours for a play that ran an hour and a half…not viable, to my mind.


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