Politics in Play...The Ranga Shankara Theatre Fest' 11...

October 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM IST
MTG editorial

The Ranga Shankara theatre in Bangalore headed by Arundhati Nag is one of the foremost theatre venues in India and has established a significant presence in the culture and arts' scene in Bangalore. At its festival this year, six plays will be staged from 15th October to 23rd October 2011.

Other highlights of the festival include a seminar, a Theatre and Arts Appreciation Course, facilitated by well-known culture critic, scholar and light designer Sadanand Menon, an extraordinary cartoon exhibition, and street plays by colleges and films.

This year's Theatre and Arts Appreciation Course will have the legendary Dhrupad Singer Ramakant Gundecha, Kutiyattam exponent Margi Madhu, Painter-Sculptor Balan Nambiar and Art Historian Sunil Kothari share their journeys with a select group of registered participants.

Festival Director Prakash Belawadi says "Ranga Shankara, with this year's theatre festival will bring to its audiences questions, conundrums and the ironies of our times through plays and displays of the folk idiom, proscenium theatre, street theatre, political cartoons, documentary video, installation art and graffiti. The festival will host an arts' appreciation course that will discuss ideas of protest - implicit or explicit - in painting, sculpture, writing and performance. It will be capped by a seminar that will talk about the hubris of the powerful; about our given morals, held customs and claimed entitlements. The festival seeks to stand up for the hurt, angry and bewildered. It is a festival for the young - for the way they are, the way it was, the way it ought to be. "it is a festival for the young - for the way they are, the way it was, the way it ought to be."

Three new plays - Ninasam's KANTU, Sanket's NAMMOORA BENKIBAAKARU and CFD's TANGO will be performed at the festival. The Seminar on Identity: Allegiance and Alienation will have Columnist Aakar Patel, Sociologist Dr. Chandan Gowda, Author Dr. Arshia Sattar and Prakash Belawadi speak. Films on politics - from India and abroad will be screened. The exhibition will feature political cartoons in association with the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

Rare political cartoons from the archives of Indian Institute of Cartoonists will adorn the ground floor foyer of Ranga Shankara during the Fest. The cartoons have been selected from the early period of Shankar's Weekly, founded by Kesava Shankara Pillai, the father of political cartooning in India, through celebrated cartoonists like Abu Abraham, Ranga and Kutty and from among Karnataka's own. The exhibition has been curated by V.G. Narendra, member of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

In a tribute to Badal Sircar, the festival will also feature his famous TEESVEEN SHATABDI, a play based on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the continued effect it has on humankind even today. Theatre stalwarts like Tom Alter and Sudeep Pandey feature in this presentation by Rangshila Theatre Group of Mumbai.

Ramu Ramanathan's COMRADE KUMBHAKARNA by the NSD Repertory, and directed by Mohit Takalkar of Aasakta Kalamanch, Pune is another highlight of the festival. The play aims to demonstrate the political shortcomings and self-delusions of the State.

Four colleges from Bangalore (National College, Basavanagudi; PESIT; JSS Academy of Technical Education and BMS College of Engineering) have been selected to create street plays on politics. These plays will be staged around the city and also at Ranga Shankara during the Fest.

Further information with schedule details can be found on

*Mumbai Theatre Guide takes no responsibility for change in schedule

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