Natarani was born listening to softer notes and watching softer moves. At twenty-five now, like the viewers and listeners her age and below in the auditorium, it has versatile tastes. She appreciates the tinkle of ghunghru and sways to fast taps on the floor. She can give an appreciative smile and nod to intricate percussion rhythms as also rise and respond to the frenzy of beats on the drum. She can relish and cherish the minutest variations within a note and at the same time groove on sopranos. Tastes can be developed through exposure. Darpana’s Natarani has proved it.
In keeping with this versatility, the first choice for the much-awaited Natarani season is the musical band Indian Ocean from New Delhi on November 9. It is known to experiment in exploring a fusion of essentially Indian classical music and its western counterpart, both vocal and instrumental. It is at home with Sufism, Sanskrit and rock, folk songs and myths. Incredibly diverse strains, including the traditional Christian prayer Kandisa, emanate from the stage when Rahul Ram, Yama Seth, Amit Kilam and others are at their ecstatic best touching your chord within. Born five years after Natarani, Indian Ocean gets dramatically spectacular and forms a rapport with the audience that remains with it a cherished experience.
Indian Ocean’s enthralling music ushers in a theatre experience of varying ideas and moods in Sunday to Sunday Theatre Fest. It offers romance and comedy, ethical considerations and questioning, folk tales and real stories. It has narration, twists and reinterpretation. There are parables and satiric undertones. There are clowning and mime, a dramatic enactment and a monologue. Even if the language is not your mother tongue, it is the theatre that speaks, clearly and engagingly. With the musical curtain raiser, there are exciting nine evening shows the irrepressible Natarani team would like to call their style of Navaratri!
Let us have a look at a sample. Danish Hussain has a reputation in India and abroad as a master storyteller. He brings Hoshruba Repertory with its Qissebaazi on Day One. Quissa is an engaging story or episode. Appropriately attired, he transports you with his ‘glittering eyes’, a picturesque stage setting and an earnest voice, narratives never heard before, spiced with music and rhythm. Day Two offers Romeo Ravidasaur Juliet Devi. Wait, don’t expect sighs and chirpy lines like, ‘O Romeo, Romeo, why art thou Romeo!’ in this play. A young villager calls his horse Juliet and, lo, he has a dream in which there is one Kaushalya, who for her friends in college days was Juliet. A perfect modern story of love and liberation in Sharmishtha Saha’s direction.
Hold your breath! Continuing Veenapani Chawla’s tradition, Adishakti’s Nimmy Raphel, as writer and director, is going to leave you motionless in your seats with cries of war and spectacles of combat in her stylized drama Bali on November 12.
Underlying the gripping drama, not unrelieved by the wit and humour the Vidushak provides, is the stimulating looking back on our traditional reverence for the divine cult figure Lord Ram. On the night that follows, under the direction of Rupesh Tillu, clown Mindy and other actors attempt through clowning and mime a comic reappraisal of our Sanskrit classic in Shakuntalam – Agar Poora Kar Paaye Toh. It will seek to be interactive with those alert and keen in the audience.
And there are four more nights to Sunday to Sunday Theatre Fest.
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