The Indian tiger in Turkey

‘The Last Colour’ by Pune’s Shrikant Bhide is the only play to represent India at a theatre festival in Turkey.

Written by Garima Mishra | Published:May 12, 2012 3:54 am

The play opens with a man busy painting a tiger on the canvas. This portrayal,along with a background score is enough to arrest the attention of the audience from the first scene itself. It is followed by a shot where a reporter enquires from a group of tribal people whether they have seen the tiger in their village as it was apparently the last tiger left on earth. Incidentally,in the 70-min-long Marathi play,‘The Last Colour’,this five-minute sequence is the only one where actors have actually acted on the stage. The rest of the play is a combination of narrative and physical theatre,a combination of music,dance,visual art and theatre. Here onwards,the soul of the last tiger shares his journey in this world with the audience.

The week-long Ordu International Theatre Festival is organised by Turkish Theatre Opera and Ballet Members Foundation (TOBOV),which promotes theatre,opera and ballet through workshops,festivals and seminars. The fest will be held from June 4 to June 10 at Ordu,Turkey. Altogether,15 theatre groups from across the world will perform at this theatre fest. ‘The Last Colour’ is the only Indian entry.

“Although the subject is extremely relevant and one of concern yet I have consciously abstained from being preachy. The play is a moving one but the treatment is subtle ,” says 27-year-old Shrikant Bhide,who has written,directed,choreographed and handled the set design of this play presented by Dhyaas,his amateur theatre group .‘The Last Colour’ was their second play after ‘Pinjara’. Till date,the play has had 11 shows between Pune ,Ahmedabad, West Bengal..

Thrilled about the group’s maiden performance overseas,Bhide says that despite being a Marathi play the reason it has managed to find a global audience is because of its strong visual and non-verbal appeal. “InTurkey,we plan to include English sub-titles. . Also,looking at the response the play is gathering,we may have its Hindi and English versions too in future,” he adds.

The play has various sequences that depict realities associated with tigers. For instance,one scene is about tiger poaching and the black market sale of tiger skin and other body parts . The lead role of the soul of the tiger is played by Shrinivas Joshi,who found it challenging. “It’s like a silent movie. Since I have no dialogues; I am required to act on the lines of the narration. Thus perfect timing is needed and expressions have to be really strong,” says the actor.

(The group will be performing the play ‘The Last Colour’ on May 14 at 7.30 pm at Sudarshan Rangmanch)

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