This year the Atelier Campus Theatre Festival–13 leg in Kolkata almost never happened due to disinformation about safety concerns in this city, of all places in India! At the last minute, local college groups saved the weekend, and Bhawanipur College’s Marmsparsh in Hindi presented the most full-fledged production. Originally written and directed by Deepti Pancharia, a third-year student, it centred round preparations for a wedding in a village, where two men from a city arrive on work. Pancharia breaks the stereotypical rural-urban polarity by emphasizing common humanity.
Intriguingly, the script does not go according to what we expect or can predict—a sign of her dramatic maturity. Short vignettes of community life provide a colourful vista until the sudden and abrupt denouement concludes the play. The variety of characters receive carefully individuated enactments, backed by sets for three locales created with attention to detailed props. However, the team must desist from practising that environmentally-unfriendly bane of amateur Hindi theatre: erecting callously lopped-off branches of foliage to represent the centrepiece tree that serves as the villagers’ meeting place.