Weekend preview Theatre

Finding the right key

Actors during rehearsals

Actors during rehearsals   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

City-based Rangasthalam Actors Studio turns the spotlight on International Women’s Day theme for this year ‘Balance for Better’ with its play ‘#Feminist.’ While the International Women’s Day initiative is to build a gender-balanced world and have an inclusive approach, the play throws light on feminism, gender equality and women empowerment. Written and directed by Nitin Mane, the 60-minute play in Hindi discusses complex issues albeit in a humorous way. “What is feminism and what is a balanced measure of gender equality? Does the current discourse of feminism in India transcend socio-economic classification?” asks Nitin, wondering if a move towards balanced gender relations has actually begun at home or is just part of drawing room conversations.

Actor director Nitin Mane

Actor director Nitin Mane   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

The play has five characters — two male and three female —- from different strata, their expectations and approach to life. The scenes showcase a wealthy man who yearns for recognition and three women with contrasting personalities. If one woman has an obeying mindset, the other is a feminist who wants to bring in radical changes and a third, who is struggling with poverty, is simply disinterested in any discussion on feminism. “Through this play, we make fun of social mores and look at them from different tangents. The characters have peculiar traits and the audience can have a nice laugh,” shares Nitin, who also enacts a part in the play.

At the end, the play questions if society is ready to understand and embrace complex issues. “Feminism is well-classified in western world and transgenders too have a distinct identity. In India we are yet to totally open up. Also, we discuss about transgenders in hushed tones and we rarely talk about their rights,” he says. The production is presented by Nritya Theatre Ensemble, the theatre wing of Nritya Forum for Performing Arts. “It is an attempt to look where we are as a society and whether we can create an inclusive environment to understand each other,” he adds.

Having done his master’s in theatre, Nitin has been in the field for a decade, writing and acting in plays and television series. “I’ve also went through a lot of struggles when auditioning for roles,” he smiles. Currently, he is working as an professor for acting in Annapurna College of Film and Media. In fact, Nitin had written the story of #Feminist for a college function. He recalls, “The students wanted me to do a play and I wrote this, about six months ago.” The story moved many people and he went on to develop the characters and plot to make it a full scale production. He’s been teaching acting for the last two years in Hyderabad and loves the daily interactions with students. He quotes Russian theatre personality, actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski to point out that acting is not always an inborn talent. “Stanislavski proved that acting can be taught. He studied the lives of many performers and developed his own theory that acting is an art which can be taught, like any other skill. Different accents, acting techniques and knowing how to use one’s body will help to make you a professional. Acting is a combination of theory and practice,” he says.

(Nritya Theatre Ensemble presents #Feminist at Nritya Forum of Performing Arts in Banjara Hills and Gachibowli on November 2 and 3 respectively at 8 pm; Tickets: bookmyshow.com)

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 1:38:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/written-and-directed-by-nitin-mane-feminist-was-presented-by-nritya-theatre-ensemble/article29862432.ece

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