OLD MEETS NEW

India Today - - LEISURE - —Anu­radha Vel­lat

The pres­ti­gious Old World The­atre Fes­ti­val (OWTF) re­turns to New Delhi for its 17th edi­tion this week. Set to show­case 15 plays over nine days, the OWTF will open with one of the old­est San­skrit the­atre tra­di­tions, Ku­tiy­at­tam. Later, it will show­case ex­per­i­men­tal con­tem­po­rary the­atre, in­clud­ing orig­i­nal plays from Chen­nai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hy­der­abad, Pune, Mum­bai and Ker­ala, says Vidyun Singh, di­rec­tor, pro­grammes, Habi­tat World, In­dia Habi­tat Cen­tre.

“Over the years, we pretty much have had every big play, pro­duc­tion, di­rec­tor or ac­tor as part of the OWTF. But we have slowly been try­ing to in­tro­duce a num­ber of ex­per­i­men­tal as well as younger the­atre prac­ti­tion­ers,” says Singh. “This time, we have taken a more dra­matic step in that di­rec­tion, by bring­ing in a lot more younger the­atre prac­ti­tion­ers.”

Th­ese works break fresh ground and ad­dress con­tem­po­rary con­cerns such as gen­der flu­id­ity, pa­tri­archy, re­lo­ca­tion and im­mi­gra­tion, while other high­lights in­clude all-women pro­duc­tions such as Be­yond Bound­aries, Dekh Be­hen as well as Das­taan Live, which ex­plores mu­sic with vis­ual arts. “The fes­ti­val is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the new ter­ri­tory in the­atre, with a blur­ring of bound­aries be­tween the script, di­rec­tor, ac­tor and the nar­ra­tive,” says Singh. “Some are go­ing to love it, some will hate it, some might find it a mix bag. But for us, it is skewed more in the di­rec­tion of bring­ing con­tem­po­rary the­atre.” Run­ning from Oc­to­ber 20 to 28 at the In­dia Habi­tat Cen­tre, apart from plays, the fes­ti­val will also fea­ture work­shops on ‘in­tro­duc­tion to im­mer­sive the­atre’ by Aruna Ganesh Ram and ‘light de­sign’ by Yael Cr­ishna. If you need passes, they can be col­lected at the Pro­grammes Desk, IHC, or you can book at www. book­myshow.com. For in­for­ma­tion, log on to www.in­di­a­habi­tat.org.

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