Bright start heralds theatre festival

The ongoing Ranga Shankara Theatre festival has many goodies in store for the city’s theatre buffs. This year’s theme focuses on the Company Theatre era.

The cessation of the heavy monsoon rains seemed to herald a smooth run for the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival. Bright sunshine greeted us as we walked to Ranga Shankara on 31st October, the first day of the Festival, as we ordered some of Anju’s delicious snacks and took a leisurely turn around the foyer, taking in the beautiful decorations, and the priceless photographs from the Company Theatre era, the period between the 19th century to mid 20th century. The opening play Nati Binodini dealt with one of the stars of that era, and her fearless expose of the exploitation women faced then. The Hindi play was indeed a wonderful vehicle to flag off the festival. Other plays in this festival include: Kathiaar Kaaljaat Ghusli (Marathi), Maya Bazaar (Telugu) and Begum Barve (Marathi), and two Kannada plays Jagajyothi Basaveshwara and Sadarame, specially commissioned by Ranga Shankara, which echo the grandeur of a bygone era.

Festival Poster

Festival Poster (Pic: Deepa Mohan)

Even stalwarts such as Yenagi Balappa (all of 95 years), who set up the Kalavaibhava Natya Sangha, took the stage on Saturday, 1st November, as ‘Haralayya’ (instead of donning the title role as usual) after 25 years, in Jagajyothi Basaveshwara, with his son Yenagi Nataraj directing it.

Sunday saw a seminar on Company Theatre, with speakers including Amal and Nissar Allana (from the Marathi stage), Prof. Ramakrishna Marate (from Dharwad, where Company Nataka is alive to this day), Gudihali Nagaraj and Prof. SR. Ramesh (from Mysore), Dr. Sripad Bhat (from Haveri), and Malathi Sudhir, Malathi Mysore and Chindodi Bangaresh.

The Theatre Appreciation Workshop, moderated by Sadanand Menon, also has people from all walks of life getting together in their love for theatre of both yesterday and today.

‘Ranga Chitra’ has screenings of several documentaries that throw light on the theatre of that era. The films examine the lives of travelling actors across different parts of India. Naveen Kishore’s Performing the Goddess: The Chapal Bhaduri Story, MS Sathyu’s Gubbi Company; K Madhusudhanan’s Maya Bazaar – The Survival of a 120-year-old Theatre Family and so on.

Ranga shankara theatre festival kannada board

Ranga shankara theatre festival kannada board (Pic: Deepa Mohan)

Ranga Shankara also has some treats in store for us in the form of songs from the Company Theatre plays: Ranga Geetegalu (theatre songs)- an evening of solo performances by greats such as R. Nagarathnamma, Master Hirannaiah and Sarita Joshi during the next weekend (November 7,8,9).

With such a multi-faceted production of the plays and the surrounding features of the Company Theatre era, the Theatre Festival 2008 at Ranga Shankara is a vibrant showcasing that is a must-visit for avid theatregoers of Bangalore, and, indeed, Karnataka.

Unfortunately, the Ranga Shankara website does not seem to have followed suit. The ‘Annual Festivals’ webpage on their website is only updated to 2006, when the 2008 festival is more than half over! Surely something that Ranga Shankara has to look at carefully. In today’s internet world, information has to be, not just up to date, but up to the minute! However, when one goes and sees the spirit of theatre so vividly alive at Ranga Shankara, such lapses are easily forgiven.

Comments:

  1. Deepa Mohan says:

    Update about update: The Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival website seems to have been updated now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Addressing pet dog attacks: A balance between regulation and compassion

Government intervention is necessary to prevent indiscriminate breeding and trade of pet dogs, and more shelters are needed for abandoned pets.

Recently, two pet Rottweiler dogs attacked a five-year-old child and her mother in a  Corporation park in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Based on a complaint following the incident, police arrested the owners of the dog for negligence and endangering the lives of others (IPC Section 289 and 336). As General Manager-Administration of the Blue Cross of India, I have seen several Rottweilers over the years. While there are laws to address such situations, there needs to be adequate awareness among pet owners that dogs like Rottweilers should be taken for a walk only on a leash. A major portion of the responsibility…

Similar Story

Bardhaman town’s tourism potential: Why it must be developed

West Bengal's Bardhaman town has immense tourism potential. Its development must prioritise sustainable tourism and civic development.

Bardhaman town, renowned for its Bengali sweets like mihidana and sitabhog, is also famous for its rich tapestry of folk culture and heritage sites. The town has immense potential for tourism. But the question arises, how much of it has been explored?   This article aims to shed light on Bardhaman's historical sites, the initiatives to promote tourism while addressing the civic issues hindering its progress, and highlight the need to balance tourism with sustainable development.  Heritage sites of Bardhaman Sher Afghan’s tomb  Located beside Pir Beharam, close to Rajbati, lies the  tomb of Sher Afghan, the resting place of the last…