New Delhi: An extravagant musical, a historical that brings alive a strong woman character, a societal comment that questions gender issues and a contemporary tale that juxtaposes stark realities of present day life - the Old World Theatre Festival, brings to Delhi a kaleidoscopic range of plays, from some of the best theatre companies and stalwarts in the country.
Starting today, the 10-day long festival is structured in a way that has in its first week, popular plays that have already been critically acclaimed and in the second has the energetic collegiate section, wherein Delhi University’s theatre societies step forward with their chosen productions.
Plays to watch out for are Rukhsana Ahmad’s new play ‘Mistaken’ which presents the English proto-feminist Annie Besant’s story, tracing her extraordinary career that shaped her politics and passions
‘Bombay Black’ which stars Radhika Apte and Shreyas Pandit is directed by Anahita Uberoi. Set in present-day Bombay, this sensual new drama by playwright and novelist Anosh Irani is a story of seduction, betrayal, revenge, and making that great leap of faith called, “Love”. Winner of four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including for Outstanding New Play i2006 it is set in a flat in the seedier part of Colaba.
The grand finale is the Raell Padamsee directed ‘Razmatazz’ starring Sharon Prabhakar and Siddharth Meghani in the lead. Backed by eight electrifying dancers, the theme is contemporary and identifiable and the treatment visually breathtaking.
Celebrated director Manav Kaul in ‘Ilham’ presents a middle-aged banker, married, with two grown up college-going children. One day, while sitting on a decrepit park bench he stumbles upon ‘enlightenment’. Therein begins the battle between the world outside and his world inside. A profound tale that captures the dilemmas of present-day life.
For literature buffs there is Bernard Shaw’s village wooing that weaves in many of his favourite themes, such as women’s rights, battle of the sexes, economics, and the role of the writer in shaping opinion. A witty one-act play that comprises three conversations that take place in the early ’30s between a rather testy Shavian gentleman and a plucky village shopkeeper, ‘Not Pygmalion Likely’ is based on Richard Huggett’s ‘The First Night of Pygmalion’
Lilette Dubey’s ‘Kanyadaan’ written by Vijay Tendulkar is one of his most powerful human dramas. The story of a daughter’s transformation into a wife and a mother, the play is charged with significant social and moral questions, which are deeply thought provoking, and to which there are no easy answers.
Gripping and laced with a gentle humour, it subtly captures undercurrents of violence, uncertainties and anger while at the core, concerning itself with questions that are crucial to all societies grappling with change and social barriers.
The Matrix Old World Theatre Festival is on at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi till 12December.