It’s going to be a LIT night!

Sushmita Jha
Saturday, 12 January 2019

Fire Flies, a storytelling event to be held this evening, brings varied narrative formats in multiple languages. Ishan Kshirsagar, who is a co-organiser, gives us details

To twist Juliet’s quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — A rose by any other name would smell as sweet... a story whether it is read, or narrated or performed, would just remain that...a story, which enriches the audience. However, in the present times, the way literature is consumed decides how it will reach out to the readers.

Taking this into account, and also the fact that their efforts in encouraging children to read will not make an impact if parents or adults are not a part of their initiative, The Story Station team curated Fire Flies, a storytelling event for adults. The event will be held today at Kala Chhaya in the evening.

Rope in the adults
Ishan Kshirsagar, co-curator of Fire Flies, says, “We have had an enormous success with the Lit Bug Fest, organised by The Story Station, for children. We believe that more people should start reading and get exposed to literature. Just like it’s important for the children to read, it’s equally important for the adults too. Only if the adults bring in a change, the children will follow it. We all know parents are the best teachers for their children. This is the reason we thought we should cater to adults via Fire Flies.”

He adds, “We are living in a time where people are stuck to their gadgets almost the entire day. Also, if you tell someone to read, they sort of take an offence. So to spread an awareness, in a subtle way, we have incorporated entertainment in storytelling. As hosts, we have been very particular about the artists we have invited to perform, because we want our audience to be entertained and at the same time learn something new or discover a new form of art altogether.”

Keertan, plays and a lot more
Besides popular and reputed storytellers like Peter Viegas, Seema Gaurav and Ajay Dasgupta, Fire Flies also has a Keertan performance, two Hindi plays and a monologue in Marathi. “Every art form, be it dance, drama or music, tells a story. We decided to include a variety of elements in this event so that the audience doesn’t get bored,” explains Kshirsagar. 

Keertan is a very traditional and devotional form of presentation which is used to educate people on life. Nihal Khambete, who will be presenting Keertan during the festival says, “January 12 marks the birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda and Rajamata Jijabai, so I will be narrating their stories through Keertan. Our folk tradition will die if we don’t match up with the current generation’s idea of performance. In order to make Keertan more intense and  entertaining, we have tried using more background music which will give the audience the feel of new era cinema.”

Pushkar Rangmanch will be presenting two Hindi plays at Fire Flies. One play Gharwaali has been written by Ismat Chugtai, whereas the second one is Chitthi Baazi written by Parshuram. The latter is a play about an exchange of letters between two people whose marriage has been arranged. They haven’t spoken to each other nor have they seen each other. Talking about why they chose a subject like this in an age where writing letters is outdated, Namita Kichlu, who will be performing in the play, says, “Back then, writing letters was an effort. There were no short words or abbreviations to express a feeling, the time required to receive a letter built up the excitement among those who were corresponding. Arranged marriages in the past were fixed through letters. It was a medium of trust knowing who you are writing to. All of this is missing today, thanks to social media and instant validations. Therefore to bring back the old times, we chose to perform Chitthi Baazi.” 

“Chugtai was a contemporary of Saadat Hasan Manto and she wrote some brilliant pieces on women. She was a great writer of her time and she continues to be one, but not a lot of her work is showcased. Therefore Pushkar Rangmanch decided to perform one of her written piece, Gharwaali,” adds Kichlu.  

ST Reader Service
Attend Fire Flies, a story telling event, to be held at Kala Chhaya Cultural Centre, opposite Vikhe-Patil School, on Saturday evening, between 5 and 9 pm. It’s a ticketed event

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