THE 13TH Gursharan Singh Naat Utsav is a befitting tribute to a man whose life was dedicated to theatre and the common people — Gursharan Singh. For decades, Singh took theatre to the remotest villages of Punjab against all odds and set a stage that gave the downtrodden a voice and also a hope for change.
Singh groomed the next generation of theatre actors and directors and gave them a chance to learn on the ground, with Singh’s philosophy being that the script, actor and audience are the most important elements of theatre.
Without elaborate sets, costumes, special infrastructure, Singh made an impact and difference through the power of the story. “And, we want to promote and preserve his style and way of doing theatre and this festival is an effort in this regard,” said actor and director Anita Shabdeesh of Suchetak Rangmanch Mohali, the organiser of the festival.
The festival was started in 2004. The festival began on Friday evening with a powerful solo performance by Seema Biswas in the play based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story, Streer Patra. Freedom, equality, courage and strength, the play explored these values through the protagonist, Mrinal.
“Singh was a leader of those fighting for justice and equality and he believed that as art is born from the people, it must reach out and involve them. This festival is not limited to one form or philosophy, but explores several themes, all related to us and society around,’’ added Shabdeesh.
Humas (November 12), a play by Lakha Lehri from Patiala, explores society’s layers and different shades of its people, across sections. Maan Mitti (November 13), a solo performance by Shabdeesh, brings on stage stories of women, who have been raped and their situations. Vikalp by Iktar Singh (November 14) is a play that talks about how when we face a problem, there are three options, to die, give up life or fight.
The festival will end on November 15. The plays will be staged at Tagore Theatre at 6.30 pm.