Known for producing, presenting and directing quality, experimental Marathi plays, the Maharashtra Cultural Centre is now trying to woo newer audiences in the Hindi and English belt. That’s all the more evident in the plays that have made the cut for Maharashtra Cultural Centre’s (MCC) 15th Rang Mahotsav.
The annual festival held in January brings to Pune audience, six very path-breaking plays. Harshad Rajpathak, coordinator for MCC, giving us a peek into the history of the festival, says,
“When Sudarshan Rangmanch was established, there weren’t too many theatre productions in Pune working in the experimental genre. So we started inviting theatre productions from Mumbai to perform here. Next step was to spread the word about the performances and bringing more audience into our fold, so two festivals were initiated. One was Sudarshan Sangeet Mahotsav and another was Sudarshan Rang Mahotsav (now it’s Rang Mahotsav). Avishkar production from Mumbai helped out in the first two years for Sudarshan Rang Mahotsav. Later Satyadev Dubey and Sulabha Deshpande, who had come for the opening of the theatre, explained that we shouldn’t keep this festival limited to Mumbai productions only. Thus we started expanding with themes, performances, productions etc, inviting Chetan Datar, Manav Kaul, Lillete Dubey and Budhan Theatre.”
Till recently, the MCC authorities would invite various theatre groups to perform at the festival. This year, however, they called for entries and put in place certain rules. “One rule was that the play should be staged for the first time in Pune. We got 52 entries, 32 were short-listed out of which six plays were finalised. Unfortunately, no Marathi play made the cut. One reason was that some shows were already staged in the city, so that disqualified them,” he added.
The inaugural show on January 26, is Amarbeli, by a theatre group, Lok Yatri from Lucknow. “The play debates the boon of ‘amaratva’ or immortality. Amarbeli has its roots in Puranas, but it has a very contemporary take,” adds Vedant Ranade, manager of the festival.
On January 27 is Dohri Zindagi, which talks about lesbian relationship. “Dohri Zindagi unfolds in a very interesting way. It’s a play about two close male friends, who get married on the same day; their wives conceive on the same day; and in that happiness the two promise that their kids will marry each other. However, two girls are born, and one of them is raised as a boy...,” informs Rajpathak.
“Chaar Small is a collage of four different theatre pieces, with the common thread of a ‘bar’ uniting them. One of the pieces has been directed by Gopal Datt of AIB fame. The title piece has been directed by Trishla Patel of T Pot production,” says Ranade, adding that there is also a daastangoi (a story-telling) performance by Shubham Parikh.
There is also Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, which has been adapted by Samagra Creations, Push & Pull. And, on the finale is 07.07.07. “It’s about a girl Reyhaneh Jabbari, whose boss attempts to rape her on this particular date. When she tries to stop him and complain to the authorities, she is put in jail. Her experiences behind bars are reflected in this play,” adds Rajpathak.
ST Reader Service
MCC’s Rang Mahotsav to be held at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha, Tilak Road at 7.30 pm from January 26-31. Tickets are available at www.bookmyshow.com