BASKET OF DOLLS

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The Play

It is for children to play with dolls. In this play a girl Luwangbi and her friend play with their dolls called Thoinu and Luwangba. The play reflects the culture, politics and violence against women of the region. The dolls enact an old story which was a conspiracy hatched between the Burmese army and prince Koirengba who forcibly wants to marry a beautiful married woman called Thoinu. Luwangba, Thoinu’s husband who is the protagonist of the play dies heroically and honorably in the battle. Their small son is buried alive in order to check the overflowing water in the spate of flood. The masquerade gang of Koringba is unable to preserve the chastity of Thoinu. The play shows the courage and patriotism of the Meitei women (Manipuri women). It concludes metaphorically with a belief that if the dolls are not properly kept in their place, they appear in dreams, crying and weeping.

 Director’s Note

This play deals with the situation after the historical event of the battle of Manipur and Myanmar. We say that children reflect the society in their activity and the games they play. In this play, children play with their dolls in which they put up the socio-economic, cultural and political issues that they see in their daily life. The dolls represent the characters and the basket represents the society metaphorically.

The play also attempts to show the condition of the people, crime against women and children at the time of war as well as the power game in the society. This power play is happening since the reign of Kings. Through this power they treat people brutally. Women and children are the worst affected. Nowadays, the armed men are in power. They exercise their power according to their will. Koirengba symbolizes the man in power. In the children’s game, the way the doll is discarded after the play, so is Thoinu, who is raped brutally, and discarded by the gang of Koirengba.

The play shows us the effect of war on children. Today children, who are the pillars of the nation, are gradually getting trapped into the inhuman situation. They are losing their feelings, hope in humanity and their peace of mind, which is not a good sign for the future. The original text has been edited heavily and made concise. It has been put together in a symbolic and stylized form with the help of music and choreography, sustaining the whole essence of the original text.

The Director

Oasis Sougaijam has worked with different theatre directors and choreographers. He has been trained in Manipuri Martial Arts for five years under the guidance of Chingtham Ranjit and also in Manipuri folk dance under the guidance of Nameirakpam Tiken Singh.

He graduated from National School of Drama (NSD) in 2014 with the specialization in Theatre Techniques & Design. During the course of National School of Drama he assisted prominent theatre directors of India and abroad.

 The Playwright

R.K. Leingaklembi is a well known playwright, poet and social activist. She writes both stage and radio plays. Her radio play Ibengi Tampakta Lotluro received National award of all Indian competition. Leingaklembi’s plays attempt different themes working mainly for the weaker section and natural environment. Her play Laidhi Lubak (Basket of Dolls) has been staged at different theatres and has also been made into a movie. She was a junior fellow of Ministry of Culture Govt. of India. As a social activist she works for woman empowerment and to help unrest in the society.

 The Group

This play is being presented as part of the National School of Drama’s Graduate Showcase (Class of 2014), which aims to provide a platform for emerging theatre practitioners, while allowing them to share their work with a wide audience.

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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