Other Theatre News

Writers bloc 3:

The British Council and Bombay's leading theatre company, Rage, bring The Royal Court Theatre, London to town for the third time. For Writers Bloc 3. The two earlier efforts, yielded successful festivals in 2004 and 2007 in which 20 new plays were premiered. This October, the first two-week residential playwriting workshop will take place with our mentors from the court.

You will have to send in a one act or full length play, in any language, to apply. The Royal Court Theatre will then select the final 12 playwrights for the workshop.

For further details, call Rage at +91 9773612114 or email at : writersbloc@ragetheatre.co.in

Your play could be produced at Writers Bloc 3. So Hurry! Last Date : 15th July 2010

Trinity College International Playwriting Competition:

Trinity Guildhall launched a new International Playwriting Competition.

The primary intentions of the competition are:

• To stimulate creativity and artistic enterprise across an inclusive international and multi-cultural constituency of participants on an affordable basis.
• To provide opportunities and encouragement for new, aspiring (and possibly established) writers to create plays for children and young people.
• To generate new drama repertoire for schools, colleges and children/ young people’s theatre companies and organisations.
• To acknowledge outstanding achievement in these areas by providing cash prizes and publishing and production opportunities for the winning entrants.

The competition is open to entrants from anywhere in the world.

Writers are asked to submit a one-act play intended for young audiences. There are two categories:
• for audiences of 11 and under
• for 12-16 year-olds

Writers can be of any age. Plays must be written in English.

Entries must be submitted either as an email attachment or hard copy by 1 July 2010.

For more details, Click here

Priti Bakalkar saw the a show of Mahesh Dattani's 'Sara', she comments:

I decided to watch Mahesh Dattani’s “Sara” for one simple reason that I do not like to be told what I should be watching and what not by anyone and definitely not by a bunch of goons claiming to be a political party!

Frankly speaking, I had no idea who Sara Shagufta was till the controversy arose. So, then I looked up for her and I was really impressed by her struggle in a short span of 29 years of her life.

She was married four times, had four children, three from the first husband, fourth from the second (who did not survive more than a few minutes) and an abortion in the third marriage. She was sent to mental asylum more than once. She had four unsuccessful suicide attempts to her name and innumerable other charges to declare her “guilty” in the conservative society of Pakistan!!

With all that background when I reached Manik Auditorium on Sunday the 4th of April, the place looked like a big police station. And I thought to myself, is it really worth to take a risk and enter the auditorium; who knows what would happen! I mean it’s ok to talk about “freedom of expression” etc., but why should I take a risk for some Dattani or some Sara Shagufta?! But finally, I made up my mind and entered the auditorium. To my surprise almost one third of the auditorium was occupied (later on I learnt that many of them were critics as they were furiously taking down notes during the performance). There were two burly, bulldog looking men sitting in next row. I decided that they were few of the miscreants who have bought the tickets with an intention to create a problem during the show. I decided to keep a watch on them.

In the meantime, Mr. Dattani came and thanked the audience for their support and showing up in spite of the unfortunate turn of events but he expressed his determination to carry on with the show under any circumstances.

SARA is dramatic adaption of letters written by Sara Shagufta to Amrita Pritam, which were eventually published by Amrita Pritam. Seema Azmi who portrayed Sara Shagufta in this one woman show, tried her best to do justice to her character of the rebel poet from Pakistan. But her efforts fell short to convey the angst and pain of Sara. Her words told us Sara’s predicament of being trapped in a conservative society as against her yearning for a family and her children but they could not penetrate us, they could not move us. We could not feel her pain. The performance stayed on one level when it had a lot of potential to reach a crescendo. The words though very powerful, never hit us but just brushed past us. Just like the bullet that missed Sara when she ran away from her first husband’s house after unsuccessful attempt to bargain for her children. However, there were two scenes which according to me were the high points of the play. First, when Sara got inspiration to write shayari when she was deeply hurt with the death of her newborn son and the callous indifference of her second husband towards the tragedy of such a critical moment of her motherhood and the second, the end of the play i.e. Sara’s fifth and final suicide attempt which was finally successful. Apart from the Actor, I would give credit for success of these scenes to the beautiful light effects and the sound arrangement. My complements go to the Sound director because wherever the actor could not deliver, the music did its job.

It was not a great performance but full credit to the entire crew for not cowering down to the threats and giving this brave performance. A true tribute to the rebellious Sara Shagufta!

By the way, during the entire play I tried very hard to find out what was so objectionable according to “the new parallel censor board”, but could not find anything out of context and objectionable. May be they mistook the Urdu shayari for “obscene dialogues”!!

And last but not the least, full marks to Mumbai Police who ensured that nothing went wrong during the performance. And yeah, those two burly, bulldog looking guys…. Well, they were policemen in civil cloths!!!