Culture is defined as the inheritance of the people’s past rituals. It is a combination of social, economic, political, anthropological and sociological experiences of a group of people. This is manifested in the passing of lores, songs, dramas and as such to denote a common past.

To keep alive this tradition, Ranga Shankara of Bengaluru has organised its annual drama festival from Nov. 6 to Nov. 13 where the theme is the “Other Metro.”

“Globalization has divided the country into two distinct parts between the metros and the mofussils, ” said the press release. It further reports that the cultural strings that are attached to the theatre are also distinct based on their geographies.  “What are the concerns of Theatre in small towns? What are the anxieties that theatre faces? What are the questions that theatre engages with…? ”

The aim is to keep theatre and tales alive from the deep recesses of India. By showcasing stories of our villages, small towns, their concerns and what rules their daily life, the experiences of the common man are kept alive.

“Some of them are in the shadow of metros” says S. Surendranath, artistic director of Rangashankara.  They want plays that are not produced in the metros. But their content might be regarding cities. This was the criteria.

“Towns’ theatre companies have their own goals and lack of resources. This sometimes leads to anxieties. This scenario is different from that of metros’. Towns have their own vibrant theatre. It was not meant to vanish away in those not-so-well-noticeable places. Hence, the theme for this year is ‘Not the Metros’, said Surendranath. According to him, even though there is a lack of facilities in these places, nothing can stop them from doing good theatre. “Theatre becomes more organic and content-based…” adds Surendranath. Of course, for the performances to get more appeal from the audience, the names of these plays must be simpler and local. For example, ‘Choli ke picche kya hain’, ‘Yugaantara’ or ‘One-third (1/3)’ have simpler or famous names and hence, connect with the audience better.

Director Vandana Prabhu , presenting the play ‘Rabbit Hole’ in Bengalruru’s Jagriti theatre, has a slightly different take. The play set in upstate New York, she says, has a universal theme and audiences all over can relate to it as it is about family. It is about emotions that are so universal, like grief and loss, which keep the audience engaged throughout the play.

Sadanand Menon, a well known art critic and theatre enthusiast, will round off the festival with a discussion on the future of direction and theatre in India.





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