Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: It will literally be a "dramatic" beginning to the New Year for theatre lovers in the Capital. The ninth edition of the National School of Drama's "Bharat Rang Mahotsav" opens at Siri Fort Auditorium here on January 6 with a performance by Sasha Waltz, the celebrated dancer-cum-choreographer from Germany.

While the inauguration will be performed by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni at Siri Fort Auditorium, performances by Indian and international theatre directors will be staged at Kamani Auditorium, Shri Ram Centre and three NSD theatres -- Bahumukh, Sammukh and Abhimanch -- during the 15-day long festival.

Of the 52 performances, 13 will be from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Germany, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Uzbekistan, while 39 will be home productions.

As dance has come to occupy a major point of reference for theatre, the upcoming festival will feature performances that will cover almost the entire range of convergences between dance and theatre.

International dance theatre will be represented by the works of Leszek Bzdyl, Beatrice Jaccard and Peter Schelling. Major Indian dancers and choreographers including Maya Krishna Rao, Padmini Chettur, Geeta Chandran and Veenapani Chawla will perform during the festival.

The Indian plays will feature celebrity directors like Prasanna, Nadira Zaheer Babbar and C.R. Jambe as well as important contemporary directors like Sunil Shanbag, Anuradha Kapur, Chetan Datar, Zuleikha Chaudhary, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Koushik Sen and Heisnam Tomba. Besides a special section on dance theatre, classics from India and abroad will offer challenging models of reinterpretation of the works of Kalidas, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare and Chekhov among others.

For the first time, the festival will pay tributes to theatre director Alyque Padamsee, who will stage his play "Macbeth", and choreographer Narendra Sharma, who will show "Mukhantar and Conference".

Another innovation at the festival will be that Indian directors will interact with their counterparts and explore the possibilities of performing on the festival circuit.

While Shakespeare still dominates with four plays (last time there were seven), there are two Sanskrit classics, Uttaramacharita and Vikramorvasheeyam. The poetry of the 13th Century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi has thrown up a new Marathi production titled "Tu". Japanese director Satoshi Miyagi, who made a tremendous impact last year with "Othello", returns this time with his masterpiece "Medea".

Taking a part of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav's repertoire to Kolkata will be the "Satellite Festival" that will be held between January 12 and 20 at Rabindra Sadan and Sisir Mancha.