Before few years, I had an opportunity to meet Dr. Ajay joshi at Ninasam Institute of performing Arts, Heggudu when India Theatre Forum seminar was orgenised by Prithvi Theatre.
After my speech, he interviewed me about my theatre and community. The interview appeared in PT notes and we have been in touch with each other to work out BT’s performances in Pune and Mumbai. He had an occasion to meet Budhan Theatre member during his short visit to Chharanagar. Finally, we planned to go to Pune to organize Budhan Theatre’s first Theatre Festival.
I sent request to our Baroda based parent organization Bhasha Research and Publication Centre and they happily agreed to support for this event.
Sir (Dr. Ganesh Devy) told me, “Dakxin you have to do lots of rehearsals and make all the plays qualitative because Pune theatre audience is so sharp, intelligent, critical and highly discussants about Theatre.”
One day I called up to Dr. Ajay and asked , “Will we get an audience?” He replied, “It can not be predictable”
Finally, BT Theatre festival could work out and we 25 members went to Pune after rigorous rehearsals of plays Budhan, Charandas Chor and Accidental Death of an Anarchist.
Suddenly, our one of child actor Nikul’s father died on 24th of May and we had to travel on 27th for Festival. We decided to drop him as he has to pay some of community traditions also. He called up to Atish and said,
“Atish, today evening I will not come for rehearsals but tomorrow definitely come for it. I am sorry for that.”
Atish stunned to hear these words. We tried to make him understand not to come and we will replace your character but finally his willingness won. In fact his mother also agreed to send him for Festival. Perhaps, she could understand the Theatre better then anyone else!
As it was our first ticket show in last 11 years and that’s why we were very conscious for the preparation of the all the plays. There were very good arrangements for accommodation and rehearsals in Sudarshana Rangamanch.
Sudarshan Rangamanch is an intimate space and black box theatre with approximate 150 sitting arrangements on chairs and floor. Very first day of festival, we got 68 people who came to watch play Budhan including some of national film awardees like Sachin Kundalkar and others. I tried to give some sense of background of Budhan Thetare that why we were there?
Budhan Play performed by under 16 children of Chhara Tribe which was, I hope, warmly welcomed by the Pune audience. As Budhan play is basically been perform in street theatre form, it was bit difficult for children to perform it on the stage. I could see their lack of confidence in performance which usually high in the street performance. They were not look like children but they tried to perform as adults. The scene of bagger Irkya and his wife was brilliantly performed by Sahil (15) and Nandini (16). The chores song in the end of scene ‘Char Tinke Utha ke Jungle Se” was very powerful but I could see the lack of rhythm which I think come by proper vocal trainings. During the song when children delivered one by one dialogs of real incidents of atrocities across the country were highly energetic and appealing. Audience seems stunned to hear the lots of atrocity cases on Denotified communities in last few minutes. The play followed by discussion, mainly, the importance of Theatre for social justice.
On 29th we performed Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of Anarchist which is translated by Amitabh Shrivastava. We adapted this play in Ahmedabad bomb blast context. Director tried to maintain the fast speaking maniac’s character as Fo written but it was bit difficult for the audience who are not too much familiar subject and its politics. All the characters performed very well but some were audience could not understand the fast speaker Maniac’s dialogs but over all the play was also witnessed by 70 people and the suggestions came up from the audience that Director make police people’s role so obedient. Generally, as per subject, It can’ be. In this kind of case, police become so arrogant not obedient!
Yes. I do agree.
Third day. 30th May 2010. Lots of people were waiting for this day and play. Habib Saab’s Charandas Chor. 95 people came to watch this play. Unexpected audience. Very well performed by the children of Budhan Theatre. Hardika Chhara, the girl, performed lead character of Charandas Chor. Over all we could see and feel that the group didn’t have technical rehearsals of fade in and fade out. Almost audience thoroughly enjoyed the play.
We ended the Budhan Theatre festival to heartiest Thanks to audience, To our parent organization Bhasha Research and Publications Centre for their funding support, Dr. Ravindra Damle, Mr. Pramod Kale, Sudarshana Rangamanch Staff and especially Dr. Ajay Joshi, without his support the festival could not be possible to organize.
After the play, Prof. Sanjay Bhave, came to me and gave me a sweet to eat. He expressed his concerns for the Budhan Theatre and its quality of productions. He said that now Budhan Theatre having a nation wide and internally high reputation and audience expect from you very qualitative productions. Your all the plays could be highly criticized by the Pune audience but as you have a social stigma cause and people have sympathy for it, they might not criticized your plays but you should work on productions quality and actors preparation. Now it is a time!
Yes, Sanjaybhai. I do agree. We will.
Great Learning experience for me and entire team!