Fed up with the artificial formality of auditorium theatre, some of Bengal’s leading dramatists are taking their productions to the masses. “I’m very tired of the cliched structure of theatre. There is no soul, no body. I am trying to come out
and take theatre to where it belonged: our roots of tradition and culture,” says Manish Mitra of theatre group Kasba Arghya.
Urubhangam, the group’s seven-and-a-half hour play based on the Mahabharata, moves through five different locales over the course of the production—with the audience travelling alongside. It begins on the edges of a crematorium, with the background of actual funeral pyres and crowds of bereaved helping create the fraught atmosphere of the Kurukshetra battlefield. As the action moves from the crematorium to the river banks, the forest and other locales, a mixed audience of villagers and the urban elite makes a physical and spiritual journey too.