Broadway and Theater

Interview: Rudraprasad Sengupta on 28th Nandikar National Theater Festival 2011 and more

Inauguration of Nandikar's 28th National Theater FestivalCalcutta, Dec 20, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Noted Indian theater actor-director and head of the Kolkata-based internationally renowned Nandikar drama troupe Rudraprasad Sengupta shares some of his thoughts behind the 2011 Nandikar's National Theater Festival - the 28th consecutive year the landmark event in Indian theater is being successfully organized.

Sengupta emphasizes the ability of theater to break the boundaries of language and cultures constricting mankind to specific chunks of civilization, and shares with us how one of the best plays he has had an opportunity to watch was in Poland in the Polish language, which he could follow in spite of knowing only a couple of words of the language.

Speaking during the inauguration of the 28th edition of the Nandikar National Theatre Festival (full report here), the man who took Nandikar from a theater group to a social institution for theater spoke about how the art of theater doesn’t just need revival for its aesthetic beauty but also its power as a social tool.

Listen to Sengupta online via WBRi on-demand radio broadcast service.



Nandikar’s 28th National Theater Festival Inaugurated - Celebrating Indian and International Stage Productions

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

December 19, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata will take the center stage for city theater-goers from December 16 to December 25, 2011 as Nandikar’s 28th National Theater Festival prepares to woo the audience with its ensemble of 19 performances by national and international theater groups. Read our exclusive report from the inauguration of the festival and check out our image gallery.

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]

[jpg image: Nandikar theater festival Kolkata]



Natyamela International Drama Festival Kolkata Advances Bengali Theatre Industry

[jpg image: Kolkata Natya Mela 2011 International Drama Festival at Rabindra Sadan]

Natyamela 2011 Kolkata Program Schedule

Mamata Banerjee at Natyamela Kolkata Bangla Natok Festival

Mamata Banerjee at Natyamela Kolkata Bangla Natok Festival

Mamata Banerjee - Natya Mela Kolkata Rabindra Sadan

[jpg image: Kolkata Natya Mela 2011 International Drama Festival at Rabindra Sadan]

Bangla Natok - Bengali Drama Performance

Bangla Natok - Bengali Drama Performance

Actor Rajatava and Singer Anindya

Natyamela 2011 Kolkata

Line for entrance at doors

Line for entrance at doors

Speech at Natya Mela

BANGLA NATOK Audience

Natya Mela Sign at doors

Calcutta, Dec 2, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) The first phase of the 11th Natyamela ends with the dream of an International Drama festival in Kolkata.

The 11th edition of the statewide culture fest of West Bengal, Natyamela came to a conclusion on November 30, Wednesday at the Rabindra Sadan auditorium.

An evening that started with the Natyamela theme song, it was a rendezvous of sorts with the presence of many eminent theatre personalities and Kolkata’s cultural frats coming together to commemorate Bengal’s rich theatrical heritage. Organized by the Paschimbanga Natya Akademi, a part of the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs of the West Bengal Government, this event had the honorable Chief Minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee stimulating the crowd with her encouraging words.

Setting the tempo for the evening, there were beautiful artworks and stage décor that was perfectly in-sync with the mood of the event. The event kick started with the entry of the CM, accompanied by the multi-faceted theatre persona and presently the higher education minister of the state, Bratya Basu. Ambarish Bhattacharya, a popular TV actor, welcomed the CM with a song. The presence of crème de la crème of theatre, husband-wife duo, Rudra Prasad Sengupta and Swatilekha Sengupta and Shaoli Mitra, the current Chairperson of the Committee for Heritage and Culture, lent to the evening an exclusively theatrical charm.

Read the full report and check out WBRi exclusive pictures.



Alcazar Show (Pattaya, Thailand)

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“No see Alcazar Cabaret?” came the question with a broad smile. “I beg your pardon?” I surprisingly asked the lady at the travel desk of Dusit Resort of Pattaya. I was not ready for this funny question. “Alcazar, Pattaya’s culture show” was the prompt reply. The name Alcazar always reminded me of Tintin’s friend, General Alcazar. No one in Pattaya could tell us why the renowned dance programme was named so. 


Video | BCS Cleveland Ohio Presents Bangla Natok "Adbhuture"

Natok Adbhuture at BCS Cleveland Ohio during Bijoya Sanmilani

Bengali Drama ADBHUTURE - BCS Cleveland Ohio"When a ghost named Taklu enters in Trina's life, strange things start happening. But what is the real purpose of Taklu? What does he want to accomplish? Let us watch tonight's play "Adbhuture" to see if we can get an answer to these questions."

Watch the full video of Bangla Natok ADBHUTURE performed in ICC from BCS part of Bijoya Sanmilani at Cleveland, Ohio on Nov 5th, 2011.


Audio | John Van Burek, Director of "Post Office" Drama Production by Pleiades Theater Toronto Adapted from Tagore's "Dak Ghar"

JOHN VAN BUREKWashington DC, June 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) John Van Burek lives in Toronto and is a director, translator and theater teacher. In 1997, he founded Pleiades Theater whose main goal is to celebrate global cultural diversity through plays that originate in languages other than English.

A scene from His current project has been to direct the English drama "The Post Office" translated from  "Dak Ghor" by Rabindanath Tagore. Translated by Dr. Julie Banerjee Mehta (also recently interviewed by WBRi) this is the first professional level performance of "The Post Office" in Canada. The play was  performed with an international cast from May 7 through June 4, 2011 at the Berkely Street Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. 2011 also marks the 100th anniversary of the writing of "The Post Office" which has been translated into some forty languages and performed all over the world.

Listen to a fascinating chat with John.



Interview: Julie Banerjee Mehta - Expert Author Journalist & Translator of Pleiades Theater Toronto's "The Post Office"

[The Post Office]DEATH IS NOT THE END BUT THE BEGINNING : This aspect of Eastern Philosophy attracted John Van Burek - director of the theater group at Pleiades Theater in Toronto, and he wanted someone to translate "Dak Ghar" ( ডাকঘর ) written by Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore in the year 1911, not only as a part of the celebration of Rabindranath's 150th anniversary, but also to commemorate the centenary of the creation of this play, which Rabindranath Tagore wrote at a time when he faced so many tragedies in his personal life.

Meet Dr. Julie Banerjee Mehta who currently teaches at the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her Ph.D. dissertation is entitled "Retrieving Precolonial Identity through the Images of the Divine Feminine in Waterscapes of Postcolonial Fiction" and she is a gold medalist alumna of Jadavpur University, Kolkata where she earned her Master's degree in English Literature.

While having a candid discussion with Arijit Chakraborty in the studio of Washington Bangla Radio from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she talks about her feelings when she was requested to translate "Dak-Ghar" into English, so that the concept of Tagore can be introduced to a broader section of the Canadian population. 


Pleiades Theatre of Toronto Presents English Drama "The Post Office" Translated from Tagore's DAKGHAR by Julie Mehta

[The Post Office]
[The Post Office - the theater group in Toronto]

Toronto, Canada, May 31, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Rabindranath Tagore's DAKGHAR ( ডাকঘর ) is one of the worlds most enduring and enchanting theatrical works. Pleiades Theater's production "The Post Office" is an English adaptation of the famous Bengali play by Tagore performed by the theater troupe from May 7 through June 4, 2011.

The Post Office incorporates dance and music along with the spoken word as is common in Indian theater. The production will be part of the Indian Government’s 2011 Canada-wide celebration of Indian arts and culture, highlighting the growing bonds between India and Canada.



Bengali Drama Review: Swapnosuchana's KANYADAN Bangla Natok Adapted From Vijay Tendulkar's Marathi Play

By Aditya Chakraborty
WBRi Special Correspondent, Kolkata

Kanyadan Bangla Natok by SHAPNOSUCHONA Theater Group, Kolkata
Shapnosuchana Bengali Drama Production KANYADAAN Press Meet - image © Aditya Chakraborty / WBRi

Calcutta, Dec 25, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Vijay Tendulkar’s play "Kanyadaan" which actually deals with contempt for the dalits (a social group belonging to the lowest class of the infamous Indian caste system), a very contemporary subject of our daily lives which is usually kept under wraps, has been made into a Bengali theater production called Kanyadan for which the Marathi translation to Bengali has been done by Bina Alashe.

A Scene from BANGLA NATOK Kanyadan

The play is about Nath Deolalkar who is a resident of Pune and Gandhian. His children also believe in their father’s ideology. Things change when his daughter Jyoti marries Arun Athole, a Marathi poet and a dalit. Deolalkar and his wife are forced to accept Arun as their son-in-law and also a lot of complexities arise because of this. Jyoti also realizes that her father’s beliefs and stances are actually a gimmick and that is not a true picture of what her father is all about!

Bangla Natok KANYADAAN

Read the full press conference report on Washington Bangla Radio.


Interview | Phalguni and Rumki Chatterjee of Calcutta Theater Group Lokokrishti - LABORATORY Bengali Drama Production

CALCUTTA, Dec 12, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Phalguni and Rumki Chatterjee are veterans in the field of Bengali Professional Group Theater and founders of the renowned Bangla Theater group Lokakrishti. Their latest production LABORATORY, staged in commemoration of the author Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary, is successfully running and critically acclaimed in Kolkata. Multiple award-winning film-maker Raja Sen was inspired by the theater production of Laboratory to make a Bengali film adaptation with the script written by Phalguni Chatterji. Subhomoy Mukherjee, WBRi correspondent in Calcutta, recorded this audio chit-chat with Phalguni and Rumki that you can listen to by pressing the Play button in the full feature.

The actor-couple Phalguni Chatterjee and Rumki Chatterjee are involved with theater from their childhood. They have seen golden age of Bengali Professional Theater, and subsequently the falling standard and eventual closing of theaters along with diminishing Bengal’s Professional Theater. They have also seen the craze of the audience for the theater in it's heyday. At the same time, they have seen the pillars and pioneers of Bengali Group Theater movement, evolution and changes in the scenario of Group Theater. They have experienced first-hand the challenges facing Group Theater regularly as they are running their own theatre group Lokokrishti for last 22 years.

Their recent production Laboratory, written by Rabindranath Tagore, is a homage to Tagore on his 150th Birth Anniversary. Though they are portraying Laboratory in it's original flavor, they include some contemporary thoughts within the play. The play is very popular now. The play has inspired renowned director Raja Sen (WBRi interview in USA) to make the film Laboratory (Bengali, 2010) and Phalguni has written the script for the film.


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