Five days, five plays

ST Correspondent
Friday, 14 February 2020

The Saarang Theatre Festival starts from February 24. Here’s more about it 

The 12th edition of Saarang Theatre Festival, previously known as Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival, will open in the city on February 24 with a play written by Girish Karnad, before his demise last year. The festival team has also planned a theatre appreciation course for budding artists.

Ashok Kulkarni, managing trustee of Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan, which organises the festival said, “Girish Karnad was a friend of Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan. He wrote Crossing to Talikota before he died in June last year. It was performed a couple of times in Bengaluru, but this is the first time that it would be performed in Pune. The English language play has been directed by Arjun Sajnani. We are paying a tribute to Girish with this performance.”

The other plays are Handabhar Chandnya by Sachin Shinde (Marathi) on February 25, Rihla by Neel Chaudhari (Hindi) on February 26,  Black Hole by Jyoti Dogra (English/Hindi) on February 27 and Andha Yug by Joy Maisnam (Hindi) on February 28. The festival has been sponsored by Parimal and Pramod Chaudhari of Praj Foundation, in their personal capacity.

“The festival has over the years hosted plays in different languages and in different forms. This year, for instance, we have an all woman show, Black Hole, by Jyoti Dogra. It falls in dance drama category. The plays that make it to the Saarang Theatre Festival do not fall completely into the commercial genre. They are also not popular in the strictest sense, but they always bring something new, thought-provoking ideas. We have our budget and logistic constraints, but we try to bring in variety every year. This year, we wanted to bring in two plays of Utpal Dutt that have been revived in Kolkata. But their cast is huge, there were issues, so those performances will not be staged in Pune. But we will try,” added noted playwright, Satish Alekar. 

About theatre appreciation course
The Theatre Appreciation Programme (TAP) which will be held from February 21-23 and March 1, is a one-of-its-kind course that will be conducted for the first time in Pune. 

Ashish Mehta, who gave information about it, said, “Writer-dramatist Ashutosh Potdar has devised the programme. The first day sessions will revolve around ‘Introduction to Drama and Theatre’. In the first half, Potdar will speak about drama and theatre and in the second half, writer-actor Dharmakirti Sumant will speak about process, style of writing. The session is titled ‘Conversation with a Writer.’ On the second day, the topic will be ‘Building a Play – Design, space and craft’. Abhishek Majumdar will speak about director’s narrative, while in the evening Mohit Takalkar would talk about designing space.”

The third session will be from actor’s perspective – ‘Ways of Performing’ and Maya Krishna Rao will conduct it. The second session is titled ‘In Conversation with an Actor’ which would be conducted by Atul Pethe. The last session will have a dialogue with the audience, the participants and what they have gained from it. 

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