David Auburn’s NIRNOY Translator & Director: Arun Mukherjee



Playwright: David Auburn

Translator & Director: Arun Mukherjee

Group: Nirnoy, Kolkata

Language: Bengali

Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins

The Play

Catherine, a troubled young woman of 25 spends years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Following his death she has to deal with her own volatile emotions, the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire, and the attention of Hal, a former student of her father who hopes to discover valuable works in the 103 note books that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draws Catherine in to the most difficult problem of all – how much of her father’s madness or genius does she inherit!

Director’s Note

The first reading of the play Proof written by David Auburn had a mesmerising effect on me. The second made me love it. And the subsequent readings slowly but steadily arouse in me the desire to stage it in my language. Thoughts of adapting it to Indian situations, I found, was unnecessary. Male chauvinism is a great leveller. The content of the play amply exposes the same being prevalent in a very developed country too. I therefore thought of translating it in my language with hardly any alteration. Some small changes were incorporated though to adjust them to Indian values. I decided to go for minimum set- light- music for more than one reasons. Such a poignant content demands soulful acting. And to bring out the best in all my actors we rehearsed for more than a year before the inaugural show. My actors were encouraged to argue on any point of confusion, find out his/her own way guided by me. For music Beethoven came in handy. Set was designed simple yet meaningful. Doing this play was a very enriching experience indeed.

The Director & Translator

Arun Mukherjee, born in 1937, has been practicing theatre since 1955. Main director of theatre group Chetana, he has written many plays- Mareech Sangbad, Jagannath, Nirnoy, Putul Nacher Itikatha etc.. He is an actor and music director also. He toured USA, Canada, France, Norway and London as the leader of the troupe. He was a member of the delegation sent to Moscow film festival in 1978. He was awarded Bharat Puroshkar in 1978 for his acting in the title role of the film Parashuram directed by Mrinal Sen. He received SNA award for theatre direction. He has been awarded Dinobondhu Puroshkar by the State Government. A number of his plays have been published in Bengali, Hindi and English.

The Group

The theatre Group Nirnoy began its journey on 22nd August 2013. In essence Nirnoy is an open platform for likeminded performing artists not only for practicing theatre but also other genres of art and culture. Till date Nirnoy has produced three full length plays- Ras, Nayanchander Byabsa, Jodi and one short play. All the three plays were directed by Sangita Pal. Nirnoy has performed its plays at Allahabad National Theatre Festival organized by West Bengal State Drama Academy, Natyaswapnakolpo, Minerva Natya Sanskriti Charcha Kendra National Theatre Festival, Narir Mancha National Theatre Festival and various other prestigious theatre festivals of India. Ras has been awarded best theatre production in the full length drama competition organized by Sayak in 2016. Nirnoy has organized two theatre and dance workshops with Silvia Viufona, theatre personality and dance guru of Italy and renowned Odissi dancer Rina Jana.

Cast & Credits

Catherine: Manisha Adak

Claire: Sangita Pal

Hal: Suman Nandy

Robert: Pradip Chakraborty

Set Assistant: Kamal Kumar Awon

Set Assistant: Jit Sundar Chakraborty

Makeup Assistant: Debjit Paul

Props Assistant: Rahul Sen

Light Designer: Dipak Mukhopadhyay

Board Assistant: Sadhan Parui

Light Assistant: Samar Parui

Music: Bandan Mishra

Team Manager: Angshuman Bhowmick

Stage Manager: Subhankar Dassharma

Costume Assistant: Barnali Roy Chowdhury

Production Controller: Tanmay Bhattacharyya

Set Design: Hiran Mitra

Costume Design: Sangita Pal

Playwright: David Auburn

Translation, Music Direction & Direction: Arun Mukherjee

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government 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 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 was 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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