The Hindu marks 15 years of The Hindu Theatre Fest

The Fest will have 15 performances, including Manto… Ismat Haazir Hain, Gauhar and Dekh Behen

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 16, 2019 3:37 PM

Fifteen years ago, with an intent to bring the best of theatre to its readers, and the city at large, The Hindu pioneered an exclusive festival dedicated to theatre that has consistently grown in size, showcase, and following and has fostered a significant theatre movement in the city.

To mark its milestone year, the Fest features 15 performances across four venues - Museum Theatre, Music Academy, Alliance Francaise of Madras and the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan - that vary in size and character and feature performances that are mainstream, experimental, intimate, and participative.

A celebration of the feminine spirit, ‘Dekh Behen’ is an all-women play, strictly for adults, promises to be funny, irreverent and provocative. From the house of Akvarious Productions, this play promises to be a riot.

Speaking of women, the Fest this year features a production called ‘Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan’, where four Muslim teenage girls from Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin basti share their real, everyday stories and allow us an insight into ideas that range from consent, gender, sexuality and identity. Created for an intimate audience, this performance unfolds at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, also a venue partner of the Fest.

The Fest this year features two performances that were shortlisted for The Hindu Playwright Award last year – ‘Guilt’ and ‘Hello Farmaaish!’ Guilt by Swetanshu Bora, is the story of coping with loss and betrayal, while Hello Farmaaish! written by Sneh Sapru and directed by Yuki Ellias uses magic realism to tell the story of real women who use resourceful ways to reinvent the world they live in.

The three plays at the Music Academy are a celebration of great writing, caste politics and musical legacy. ‘Manto… Ismat Haazir Hain’ by Motley re-visits two stories by Sadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai to shed light on the idea of obscene and freedom of expression. The play is directed by Naseeruddin Shah. ‘Chandala, impure’ by Pondicherry-based Indianostrum Theatre is an experimental work in Tamil and tackles powerful and pertinent questions on the idea of purity and its pollution.

Premiering in Chennai is ‘Gauhar’ by The Primetime Theatre Co, directed by Lillette Dubey. The work re-visits the life and times of a musical legend, Gauhar Jaan, who was both talented, sensual and sprites.

At the Alliance Francaise of Madras, also a venue partner of the Fest, there are three plays that have a character of their own. Chennai-based Theatre Nisha’s latest offering, Dvija, that will premiere at the Fest, uses Drona’s life and character to allow us an understand the idea of choice and its importance in the fight for survival. Black Hole, Jyoti Dogra’s experimental work uses science and imagination in an attempt to find a greater engagement with the universe and with herself. Every Brilliant Thing, by QTP, based on Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe’s work, is an intimate piece that invites you to share the joy found in everyday objects, and also addressing ideas of mental health and suicide with utmost sensitivity, allowing us to take home the idea of what a wonderful world it is.

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