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Tagore’s Women

After seven shows, it has come to be a favourite among the audience. The project started off as a mere idea. Sandeep Rawat, the founder of Samarth theatre group shared his idea of working on a story and adapting it into a play in the Indian context, with his team. It was then that they narrowed down to Rabindranath Tagore, and set out to look for the perfect story for a dramatic representation.

After months of reading, re-reading, and devising the story for a dramatic representation, which included workshops in the art of object theatre, creating characters out of the existing ones, devising dialogues in the desired context, and giving a meaning to everything to be brought out on stage, even the team was left amazed at what had been created. What began as just an idea, just a dream, had taken the shape of a full fledged play.

Months of toil and dedication took these youngsters with eyes full of dreams to Lok Kala Manch in Delhi for the first staging of their creation. Most actors in the production were setting foot on stage for the first time. While there was apprehension as to how successful the performance shall be, Rawat only said one thing to his actors, “I believe in you, and I know you’ll do great. Don’t do it for anybody else, do it for yourself. If what you present on stage makes you happy after the performance, you’re a success.” That ignited a fire in the entire team, and the show turned out to be a greater success than expected.

Since then there has been no stopping for the team. The first show was followed by a show in Lucknow at Sheroes hangout, run by acid attack survivors. This show was not only received with an incredible amount of warmth by the people of Lucknow, but also became a symbol of the strength that acid attack survivors exhibit and inhabit, critiquing the mindset that leads to heinous crimes like acid attacks.

While the group did no further performances in terms of booking an auditorium and inviting audiences, as destiny would have it, it received requests for one show after the other. Having performed at Dilli Haat, Akshara Theatre, Dyal Singh College, thereafter, Tagore’s Women has become a favourite among theatre goers. With the inbox of all official social media pages of the theatre group filled with requests and inquires about the next show, every time one happens, the popularity of the play is such that despite attempts at bringing something more innovative and new to the stage, the performances of this one have been going on and on.

While the cast of the play consists mostly of newcomers, the fact that each performance is excellent cannot be denied. With impeccable direction by Rawat, and poetry that touches the heart, the play also boasts of great lighting and music. The most significant aspect of this play is the idea that the condition of women in the society that Rabindranath Tagore tried his best at portraying through Maan Bhanjan and Stree Patra, the two short stories that form the basis of this play, in 1930s, hasn’t changed much even today. Women face similar challenges eighty years ahead in time too. What makes this play a success is its artistic value combined with its sociological foregrounding and importance.

A must watch for all art lovers.

 

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