The Hindu Theatre Fest returns to Coimbatore

The Hindu Theatre Fest returns to the city after a hiatus with a line-up of plays that is classic and heart-warming

July 25, 2019 04:49 pm | Updated 05:29 pm IST

Under the umbrella of The Hindu Theatre Fest (THTF), a range of human emotions is waiting to unfold across Coimbatore, Chennai and Hyderabad. From epic re-tellings, classic re-inventions, fiery feminist drama, poignant and powerful everyday narratives, ideas and abstracts that disturb and compel us to look inward to simple and complex human stories that make us laugh and cry at the same time, the fest is a distinctive blend of a powerful theatre experience that is reflective not only of the times that we live in but also of a community that is constantly attempting to push the creative envelope and produce work that is relevant, and cutting-edge.

Fifteen years ago, with an intent to create and cultivate a theatre culture in Chennai, The Hindu pioneered an exclusive festival: The Hindu Theatre Fest. The festival has grown in size, showcase, and following, and has fostered a significant theatre movement in the cities that it has travelled to — Chennai, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Kochi and Hyderabad.

To mark its milestone year, THTF returns to Coimbatore with three plays — Dance like a Man , Laila and Jamal and Love Letters . The former and the last, directed by Lilette Dubey and Rahul da Cunha respectively, have been recognised as classics in the world of Indian theatre in English. They have travelled the world and earned critical acclaim.

(Clockwise from left) Laila and Jamal; Dance Like A Man; Love Letters

(Clockwise from left) Laila and Jamal; Dance Like A Man; Love Letters

Speaking about the Fest, its Curator and former Editor of The Hindu , Mukund Padmanabhan says, “This comeback to Coimbatore also coincides with the Coimbatore edition of The Hindu turning 50, so it’s very special. We are also very excited to showcase some great theatre in a city that has always responded most enthusiastically to it.”

The festival opens with The Primetime Company Theatre’s Dance Like a Man that has travelled the world, clocking nearly 610 shows over 24 years, reiterating how universal human emotions and complexities are, irrespective of context, milieu and ethnicity.

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  • When: August 16 at 7.30 pm Dance Like a Man directed by Lillette Dubey; August 17 at 7.30 pm Laila & Jamal directed by Nikhila Kesavan; August 18 at 7.30 pm Love Letters, directed by Rahul da Cunha
  • Where: Corporation Kalaiarangam, TV Samy Road (West), RS Puram
  • Tickets: ₹1000, ₹750, ₹500 and ₹250 plus applicable taxes available on Paytm app, www.insider.in (website or app) and www.hindu.com/theatre-fest
  • Search for name of play or click on theatre tab. Select the Buy Now option. Select seats. Review order summary. Login/Sign-up & confirm contact details. Select payment method. On completion of payment, an email/SMS confirmation of ticket will be sent. Carry ID proof & ticket on phone to event.
  • For further queries, write to help@insider.inor call +91-22-61548585 / +91-9136622662 & refer to event
  • Keep up with festival news on Facebook (The Hindu Theatre Fest), Twitter (@thehindutheatre) and Instagram (@theatrefest.thehindu)

The play is centred around Jairaj and Ratna, two Bharatanatyam dancers past their prime, and is contrasted with that of their daughter Lata who is on the verge of making the cut as a brilliant dancer. Her imminent success sparks off tension and jealousy and a web of human drama between generations. “What’s exciting is the mode is comic rather than tragic and even though the concerns are serious, you are never sure whether to laugh or cry,” says Lilette Dubey, its director, “But I don’t know the alchemy of the play; it has worked everywhere we have performed it.”

  • Associate Sponsors:Apollo Hospitals
  • Hospitality Partner:Vivanta by Taj
  • Travel Partner: Air India

Enjoying centre of attention is Chennai-based Nikhila Kesavan’s latest work, Laila and Jamal , an original stage adaptation of one strand of Manu Joseph’s Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous . The play premièred recently in Chennai to much acclaim and its director is nothing short of excited about travelling with it to Coimbatore. “I have always found the audience here warm, and discerning,” says Kesavan, “This play has been conceptualised as a thriller. The audience will be engaged every minute in unravelling the plot.” The play raises compelling questions about our socio-political system as it unfolds through the words of a host of people.

The grand finale is Rage Productions’ Love Letters that is considered “perhaps the longest running English play in India”. Performed poignantly by Shernaz Patel and Rajat Kapur, childhood friends who share a lifetime of experiences through a voluminous series of letters and notes “written from age six to 65”, the play is a true celebration of love and the real meaning of soulmates. A befitting end to what perhaps could be the two best ingredients of a great life - love and a soulmate!

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