One of IAPAR International Theatre Festival’s flagship projects, the Late Shri Kumar Joshi Natyawachan Spardha, will feature the winning and runner-up scripts at The Box on Sunday. The play-reading competition that primarily promotes local Marathi narratives saw the participation of 20 groups between October 31 and November 8.
Khandani, the winning script read by members of Nilu Phule Kala Academy, is a two-hour play which revolves around family, the relationship between the characters and the relation they hold with their land. Meanwhile, city-based theatre group Tamashaa’s play Adriyano explores the different views of God that are so broad and flexible that one can find God in whatever and wherever one looks for him.
“… Khandani is a play which tries to understand the separation between an individual and his farmland. In the search of something better in the disguise of success, several people have sold their ‘inheritance or khandani’ land for a small flat in the urban setting. Each of the characters in the play not only have their own separate stories but also interact, in tones of seriousness and humour,” said performer and director, Unnati Kamble.
Kamble said that the play, which will be narrated by six actors in Marathi, will try to provoke the audience to ponder on their relation with their roots, the farmlands that they have left behind and lastly, a more meaningful understanding of the term motherland. “The play was written and worked on in the last seven months during the lockdown and we are ecstatic to finally perform in front of a live audience. I will be playing two characters with the help of voice modulation and reading…,” she said.
After extensive reading on religions, communities, castes and in the quest to understand God during the lockdown, playwright Vedant Lanje of Tamashaa theatre group wrote Adriyano. “Since time immemorial, people have been seeking to comprehend the entity we know as God. Adriyano is the mystical story of delusion, which takes you in a voyage to find God. We think this story must be told in our era because sometimes we forget to question God himself and to think about the question… can we rely on the God of the Old Testament?,” said Lanje.
Narrated by the character of the Ocean, the 90 minute story-like script is based in the Malvan region under the Portuguese reign in the late 17th century. “Adriyano, Mahadu and Ananta are the main protagonists and the fictional play looks into every community, caste and religion of that period and how they look for God around them within living as well as non-living entities. The play, narrated by seven actors, talks about the socio-political background of that time, the caste differences that existed and how one understood God,” he said.
Lanje said that as the purpose of script reading is to have the audience develop an image of the story in their minds, they not only concentrated on voice modulation but also worked on linguistic and musical tangents. “Our characters, who play the locals of the region, will speak in Malvani, and the audience which understands Marathi will be able to grasp the sense. Our characters that are of Portuguese descent in the play will deliver dialogues in English… This will help the audience visualise the play better,” he said.