Like Us

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay

Born in September 30th 1933, in Manbhum , Bihar. Schooling at Kulti, Asansol, where he completed his Intermediate Examinations in Arts. His connections with IPTA (Indian Peoples Theatre Association) developed when he came to Kolkata to complete his Bachelor of Arts, degree from Manindra Chandra College. From 1955 to 1961, he continued to be an active member of the association. His prominent works during this time were Dharmoghot (Strike), Koylar Rong (The colour of coal) and Shanthal Bidroho (Rebellion of the Santhals). He was IPTA’s director in charge for branches in Ghughudanga, Patipukur, Nagerbajar, Airport, and Gorabajar, the assimilated Dumdum zone. Politically served as the local party member of Communist Party of India (C.P.I)
In 29th June 1960, he formed the group Nandikar as a wing of IPTA. Primarily the group was called Nandikar Gananatya Sangha. His squabble with the party began after his production, Natyakarer Sandhane Chhati Charitra (1961), adopted from Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Although the content of the play was condoned by IPTA, the major argument remained as to whether such a play could be staged under its banner. His dissociation from IPTA as well as Nandikar began at this point. The central ideological contradiction regarding the autonomy of an artist was the foundation of his differences with the authoritarian outlook of the party. This led to his departure from the Communist Party of India.
Ajitesh was a prolific actor who not only mastered direction but was also a brilliant composer of songs. Bangla theatre saw a whole gamut of plays from all around world being adopted by him. In 1977, he left Nandikar and went on to form another theatre group Nandimukh.

Some of the significant productions of Nandikar directed by him:
Bidehi (An adaptation of Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen)
Dao Phire Se Aranya ( Chittaranjan Ghosh)
Setubandhan (Ajitesh Bandyopadhaya)
Char Adhaya (Rabindranath Tagore)
Prastab (An adaptation of Proposal by Anton Chekov)
Natyakarer Sandhane Chhati Charitra (An adaptation of Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello)
Nanaranger Din (An adaptation of Swan Song by Anton Chekov)
Bodnaam (Rabindranath Tagore)
Manjari Amer Manjari (An adaptation of Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov)
Ratri (An adaptation of A Dream by Zimermann)
Jakhan Eka (An adaptation of Roots by Arnold Wesker)
Nilima (An adaptation of The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco)
Tin Paysar Pala (An adaptation of The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht)
Antigone (Sophocles)
Sher Afghan (An adaptation of Richard III by Luigi Pirandello)
Mudrarakshas (Bishak Dutta)
Bhalomanush (An adaptation of Good Woman of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht)
Paap Punya (An adaptation of The Power of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy).

(To be contd.)

[We are starting a series on theatre personalities, primarily form Bengal and other parts of India. If we get your support, then we would like to spread this to include theatre genres and movements as well.]

Totakahini Performance

Some Performances:
The Golden Jubilee Celebration of Jadavpur University, 2005.
All India Inter-University Youth Festival, 2005, held at Shillong.
The Annual Drama Festival organized by the Garhjoypur Anwesha Lekhak Shilpi Sanstha, 2005, Purulia.
Gyan Manch, 2006.

About the Gyan Manch Performance:

Story : Rabindranath Tagore
Script, Direction : Abhishek Basu
Music : Bablu
Set : Soujanya Chakraborty
Light : Sumit Chakraborty
Costume : Tanushree Kundu
Workshop : Raja Mukherjee
Vocal :Bablu, Mayurika, Nila
Percussion :Sajib, Sanjiban
Organization : Sudipta Mitra
Anwesha, Arpita, Dilip, Gargi, Kamanashish, Moumita, Pradip, Pulak, Raja, Soujanya, Sujata, Suman, Suraj, Tanushree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Totakahini (Parrot's Tale)

The Story:
The short story by Rabindranath Tagore begins with a parrot being captured and taken to the king. As the bird is unruly and is prone to flying and singing, the king and his court (the general, the pundits and the ministers) decide that it must be tamed. A grand plan is drawn up to educate the bird.
As the first step, a great golden cage is built and scores of scribes are employed to produce enormous textbooks. But the bird's progress is not to the satisfaction of the court. In an effort to hasten its erudition, it is fed with pages from text books instead of the usual ration.
But it still tries to escape, though in vain. As a punishment, its wings are cut off. The bird ceases to move, and, to sing; and the priests assure the king that the bird’s education is now complete. Actually, the bird is dead.

The Play:
The short story, though written about a century ago, has not lost is relevance even today. We have chosen this in order to explore the inadequacy and inhumanity of the education system. In our interpretation, the play explores the complex relations of power that work through coercion, corruption, greed and consent.
We have adapted the story keeping intact the structure, characters and dialogue. Nevertheless, the play seeks to situate itself in the contemporary reality. While keeping the fairy-tale-like characters of the king, the pundit and the kotwal, we have transformed some figures according to our needs. Some Bangla dialects have been used along with the standard Bangla of the original. Occasional English words or references to recent events are to be found in the performance.

Friday, December 19, 2008

About Noutonki

noutonki kolkata started its journey as a student enterprise. Some students of Jadavpur University, all passionate theatre workers, were involved in campus theatre from 2000. Gradually their experimentation with theatre became more serious and committed in nature. They began to represent the University at various festivals. Eventually their theatre activities came to be acknowledged not only as a student concern but as something relevant in the theatre scenario of Kolkata. Some theatre professionals joined in and the group made its official debut in 2004. Finally the group was registered in 2005.