Group: Bauria People’s Repertory Theatre

Director: Utpal Phauzdar

Dramatist: Rabindranath Tagore



Group: Rangprawah

Director: Joydev Das

Dramatist: Gautam Chattopadhyay


Duratara Dwip

Group: Bibhaban

Director: Supriyo Samajdar

Source: Jibanananda Das


Intimate Theatre Evenings, at Padatik Little Theatre, began this month with three varied productions, each experimental but none completely successful. Most groups still approach such small spaces like any standard stage, not exploiting either the proximity of the audience or the flexibility of seating arrangement that they allow. As a result, nothing really unusual occurs.


Bauria People’s Repertory Theatre opened the bill with a massively truncated four-character sampler of Tagore’s Bisarjan in Bengali. Director Utpal Phauzdar selected just four scenes to represent partially, without proving the need for only these and not others. If they wanted a condensation, why did they not use Tagore’s own (abridged for the Santiniketan children in 1936), and substitute their preferred speeches yet basing their text on that more authentic one? Finally, they failed my litmus test for Bisarjan – like all Bengali groups, not having the pluck to follow the stage direction of throwing the image into the water at the end.


Rangprawah’s Angira, written by Gautam Chattopadhyay in Hindi, reveals the consequences of sexual assault on a young woman. In order for us to hear what happened in her life and the extreme step she took, Chattopadhyay falls back on a listener – her flatmate – whose presence (enacted by the director, Joydev Das) is quite immaterial otherwise. The playlet rises out of its well-trodden subject matter entirely owing to Kalpana Jha’s performance in the lead, expressing a wide range of deep emotions and employing every aspect of her talent, from multilingual fluency to dancing to singing. She has clearly entered the big league.


Bibhaban’s Duratara Dwip, composed and directed by Supriyo Samajdar from the poem “Suchetanā” by Jibanananda Das, features Tapan Das solo. Tapan’s command over nonverbal communication and body language conveys the poet’s despair about the “gravely sick world”. But Samajdar neglects the fact that though most of the five stanzas in Suchetana resonate with world-weariness, its imagery nevertheless carries much hope and light; the last two lines go (in my translation), “I’ve seen what was, what will be for people was not to be – / On the breast of eternal night all things dawn endlessly.”


(From The Times of India, 21 June 2019)