This is the third edition of Centrestage, a fortnight-long festival of diverse plays, many of them premieres. Eighteen plays in Hindi, English, Marathi and Gujarati spanning the works of emerging and established playwrights, directors and actors, with material ranging from mundane entertainment to more experimental and varied fare. Many of these plays have been put together with an opening at Centrestage in mind.
In addition there are some plays with a more global focus. Luca Silvestrini’s Protein presents LOL, a production that combines video animation with performers who dance and talk at the same time. This British dance theatre production is presented in collaboration with the British Council. Workshops and documentary films on Vijay Tendulkar, G.P. Deshpande and Satish Alekar will also be screened.
Among the productions lined up during the festival is The Diary of a Word, an English play, written and directed by Ramu Ramanathan and performed by Ahlam Khan-Karachiwala and Zafar Karachiwala. Bhopal, another English play by Rahul Varma and directed by Joanna Sherman, is billed as a political drama and is produced jointly by A Bond Street Theatre and Epic Actors Workshop collaboration, groups with interests in South Asian politics and arts.
Pune-based Theatron presents the Marathi play Kettakatha, which examines the process of writing a play. Akavarious Productions, one of the most prolific groups in the city, presents Our Town based on Thornton Wilder’s play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1938. This is directed by Akash Khurana. All in the Timing, a collection of short plays by David Ives, has been adapted to an Indian context and directed by Faezeh Jalali for FAT Productions and The Weirdass Repertory production. The Marathi play, Shambhar Mee, written by Shyma Manohar, is produced and presented by Awishkar, one of the longest surviving experimental theatre outfits, and Arun Kakade. Mythology is given a contemporary twist in Yudishtar aur Draupadi, a Hindi play derived from Pavan Varma’s long poem dramatised in verse by Gulzar and designed and directed by Salim Arif.
Among the more unusual productions is A Bird’s Eye View with non-verbal, object theatre performances and a smattering of gibberish. The Big Fat City is written and directed by Mahesh Dattani while First Love, one of Samuel Beckett’s early novellas, is directed by Naseeruddin Shah, who also performs. In the coming months, theatre activity at NCPA is set to initiate NCPA Zest, a once-a-month programme of campus or youth theatre, with a greater focus on producing plays.
Bottomline: An eclectic and exciting mix of styles and genres to appeal to theatre lovers.
Centrestage Theatre Festival
When: December 6-16
Where: NCPA, Mumbai