Theatre

In Hyderabad, Nishumbita and Sutradhar’s special productions for World Theatre Day 

A scene from the play ‘Dootavakyam’ by Nishumbita

A scene from the play ‘Dootavakyam’ by Nishumbita | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

After two years of losing out on performing to a live audience, Hyderabad theatre groups are gearing up to host real-time events to commemorate World Theatre Day on March 27 this year. Nishumbita will be staging 27 plays over 24 hours and Sutradhar will present a Hindi play. Here is what theatre lovers can expect:

Theatre Yagna 

“Everyone knows that theatre groups had a tough time during the pandemic. We wanted this World Theatre Day to be special and make people sit up and take note of our innovative format,” says Rammohan Holagundi, founder of Nishumbita. The event titled ‘Theatre Yagna’ will see the group stage 27 plays in 24 hours.  The initiative marks Nishumbita’s completion of 27 years in theatre.

The team includes more than 30 children and 40 adults and young adults. “We will be staging 20 new plays and some of our earlier productions. It has been a Herculean task. But the eagerness to attempt something unique and put Hyderabad on the world theatre map keeps us motivated,” explains Holagundi.

From the rehearsal of the play ‘Beggar and the King’ by Nishumbita

From the rehearsal of the play ‘Beggar and the King’ by Nishumbita | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The line-up comprises seven Telugu plays (7a.m. to 1p.m.), children’s plays (1p.m. to 6p.m.), English plays (6p.m. to 11p.m.) and Hindi plays (11p.m. to 4.a.m) and mime acts. 

The thrust, says Holagundi, was to choose stories that deal with social issues. He believes that theatre can be a medium that can make the audiences think and, maybe, trigger a change.

The group conducted a dry run on March 12 and staged plays for 20 hours. On March 27, the group plans to stage the various plays consecutively, with barely a few minutes allowance to change the sets. 

Nishumbita is hopeful of having its 24-hour event find a mention in the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records. 

Theatre Yagna, in collaboration with the Department of Language and Culture, Government of Telangana, will be conducted at Nishumbita School of Drama, Begumpet, Hyderabad. For tickets priced at ₹ 250 for seven plays, contact 8978686787.

A thief, a judge and a journalist

Sutradhar will be staging the Hindi-English play Aadhi Raat Ke Baad, written by Shankar Shesh in the 1970s. Directed by Vinay Varma, the play stars Sanjay Ratha as the judge, Vishal Saxena as the journalist and Mayank Parakh as the thief. The story explores incidents that unfold after a thief breaks into a judge’s residence one night and insists that he be arrested. The events that follow are satirical takes on crime and punishment.

Mayank Parakh and Sanjay Ratha during a rehearsal of ‘Aadhi Raat ke Baad’

Mayank Parakh and Sanjay Ratha during a rehearsal of ‘Aadhi Raat ke Baad’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“Some older stories need to be tweaked to suit a contemporary setting, but there are stories that hold good even 40 to 50 years later. Aadhi Raat Ke Baad is in the second category,” says Vinay Varma, and adds that he stuck to the original story and made no major departure, except changing a few lines to make it more relatable to the audience. 

If he wanted to make the story and characters more reflective of the present times, there was an option to replace the landline used by the judge with a mobile phone. However, Vinay reasons against it: “The judge does not have a family or a social life and we can infer that he may not depend on a mobile phone. We took it as a chance to drive home the point that not everyone needs to use a mobile phone.”

The thief’s breaking into the judge’s house happens with a larger purpose, which is revealed later in the story. A journalist neighbour also becomes part of the proceedings. “The thief has been to prison a few times and knows a few things about the law; he is aware of the sections under which one can be charged for a crime and the sentences an act of crime can attract,” Vinay elaborates.

Before zeroing in on Aadhi Raat Ke Baad, Vinay had contemplated another comedy play with 10 to 12 characters, but when the planning and preparation began, the third wave of COVID-19 was on. Not wanting to risk it, he chose Aadhi Raat Ke Baad.

Aadhi Raat Ke Baad will be staged at Rangbhoomi Spaces and Events, Jayabheri Pine Valley, Gachibowli, Hyderabad on March 26 and 27; at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at ₹250 each, available on bookmyshow.com. Or call 9030149947/ 9849875920


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2022 7:30:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/nishumbita-and-sutradhar-theatre-groups-hyderabad-to-stage-special-productions-for-world-theatre-day/article65254790.ece