In Manipuri director Ratan Thiyam’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic, Macbeth is the name of a disease. Its symptoms range from unlimited desire to greed and violence, and it is hard to control. Thiyam’s Macbeth sets the stage for the Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), the annual festival of the National School of Drama (NSD) that begins today.
Around 80 plays will be staged at the festival from India and across the world till February 21. The stories are drawn from mythology, such as Agnivarsham (which adapts an episode from the Mahabharata to make a point about caste politics), or history (Azad Maulana revisits the freedom struggle), or classics such as Antigone, a thousand-year-old Greek drama about hunger for power — but each production is littered with present concerns and conflicts.
An original narrative, Jino Joseph’s Mathi, is one of the the festival’s highlights. Mathi means more than sardine in Malayalam. In the play, it is a metaphor of the working classes of Kerala, which can afford this inexpensive fish. Mathi is the biggest political play of recent years — a multiple award winner at several festivals, and among the highlights of BRM. Interestingly, it ends with the audience being served sardine that is cooked on stage — the only play to serve dinner.
Foreign plays are among the treats of BRM and this year offers a selection from Pakistan, China and Austria, among others. “The theme is ‘Rediscover the Magic of Theatre’ and we hope the plays will captivate the audience with their mix of storytelling, stagecraft and performance,” says Waman Kendre, Director of NSD.
‘World Theatre Forum’, a seminar, brings together eminent theatre personalities from various countries
‘Meet the Director’ allows one to interact with theatre makers
‘Theatre Bazar’ will include stalls selling stage essentials as well as a range of cuisine
Plays will be held at Kamani, LTG, Sri Ram Centre and NSD. Contact: http://www.nsdtheatrefest.com