This year’s Ranga Shankara theatre festival, Samprati, is a tribute to the renowned playwright, Girish Karnad. The aim of the Festival is to provide a platform for young directors and actors to re-interpret Karnad’s plays.
Surendranath, artistic director of Ranga Shankara, explains the process behind the Festival. “It all started with idea of reaching out to the youth in Bangalore. The ideal vehicle would be to have plays directed by young directors. Interpreting a text to the present context. Then we also thought of celebrating five decades of playwriting by Girish Karnad -- a tribute to this most important playwright of modern Indian theatre.” In the sense of modernity meets tradition, Suri says they decided that young directors should direct Karnad’s works. It would be interesting, he says, to see how the present generation directors would look at his plays, how they would interpret them as they stand displaced in time. “Now the hunt for the directors started. The rules were set. It had to be a young director ready to look at Girish Karnad works from his point of view. We got about eight directors and here it is. That is the reason the festival is titled Samprati, which means present, now,” he explains.
The Festival will also feature seminars on October 26 and 27, a screening of some of Karnad’s movies and documentaries through the day. There will be an art appreciation course by culture critic Sadanand Menon. Apart from performances by amateur theatre groups, corporate theatre clubs, or college theatre clubs of one scene from any of Karnad’s plays during the Festival, students can even perform any of Karnad’s monologues, send the video recordings of the same to Ranga Shankara and the selected ones will be played at the venue.
Surendranath throws some light on what the other events entail. “We have about eight artists visually interpreting Girish Karnads plays. We have artistes like S.G. Vasudev, Rekha Rao, Ravi Kumar Kashi, Devaraj, Rani Rekha...The plays they would be visually creating are Nagamandala, Tughlaq, Yayati, Bali, and Broken Images.”
The seminar, planned by Arshia Sattar and Vivek Shanbag will deal with Girish Karnad in Kannada, in other Indian languages, portrayal of women in Girish Karnad’s plays, politics in Girish Karnad’s plays and others. Some of the speakers at the seminar would be Shanta Gokhale, Kirti Jain, Pushan Kripalani, Prakash Belawadi, Arundhati Raja, Arundhati Nag, Vimala K S, Sha Shettar, T P Ashoka and others.
The festival opens with Kannada’s own Samudaya staging Tughlaq on October 18, directed by Samkutty Pattomkari. Kalabheetham (Anjumallige) in Malayalam will be staged by APT Trivandrum, directed by Sam George, and Nagamandala in Bengali will be staged by Ballygunge Swapna Suchna Theatre Group, Kolkata, directed by Abanti Chakraborty on October 19 and 20 respectively. Dreams of Tipu Sultan in English will be staged by Indianostrum, Pondicherry, directed by Koumarane Valavane, Broken Images will be staged in Assamese by Jirsong Theatre, directed by Rabijita Gogoi, Uney Purey Shahar Ek (Bendakalu On Toast) in Marathi will be staged by Asakta, Pune, directed by Mohit Thakalkar, Bali will be staged in Hindi by The Actor Factor, New Delhi, directed by Aditee Biswas and Yayaati will be staged by Rafiki, directed by Ashish Dabreo, between October 23 and 27.