The theatre community in the city,says theatre person Hina Siddiqui,is divided into Marathi and English subsets. And then,she adds,there are those who are oblivious to the concept of theatre. With an aim to bring all these three sets of people together on a single platform,the city will witness the first-of-its-kind English theatre festival Pukaar from February 8 to 16.
There are many Marathi plays happening in the city all the time,but coming from an experimental theatre background,I cannot relate to any of them unless they are cutting edge. The plays are not unified or universal. That is why Maharashtra Cultural Centre (MCC) and Orchestrated QWorks have collaborated to organise a theatre festival, says Siddiqui,Creative Director,Orchestrated QWorks,a city-based theatre company.
The festival aims at giving the theatre scene in Pune a fillip so that actors do not need to look for back-up options. We want to create an environment where an actor has enough work in theatre to earn a decent income without migrating to Mumbai or some other city. We will put together a panel of veterans from regional theatre such as Girish Karnad,Sonali Kulkarni and Mohan Agashe to mentor aspiring actors, says Siddiqui.
Listing some of the highlights of the festival,Siddiqui says that her group will stage an experimental romantic comedy in a musical format. Two artistes from the US will be working with first-time actors throughout the festival to put up a production on the last day. Also,Jennifer Little,who has worked extensively on applied drama to end bullying in schools and colleges,will address the issue of ragging through drama, she says.
Along with showcasing experimental English plays,the festival will feature panel discussions to discuss why the theatre movement hasnt taken off in Pune,how to develop English theatre in the city,the idea of censorship and sexuality on stage,and theatre education in India.
City-based musicians and dance organisations will also perform during the event. The venue,Jyotsna Bhole Auditorium,Tilak Road,is a four-storyed building. We plan to use it innovatively by having dance performances on the staircase and by displaying a range of installations at different points, says Siddiqui.