OUT­DOOR DRAMA

India Today - - LEISURE - —Romita Datta

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.

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