Ernest Hemmingway’s Play: The Old Man

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Story: Ernest Hemingway
Director: Sahidul Haque
Group: Orchid Theatre, Nagaon
Language: Assamese
Duration: 1 hr 10 mins

The Play
As the play opens, the audience is acquainted with the fact that the protagonist of the story, the old fisherman Vodai, has gone 84 days without catching a single fish. ‘Vodai’ is considered the worst form of misfortune. In fact, this fisherman is so unlucky that his young apprentice, Rongmon, has been forbidden by his parents to sail with the old man, and been ordered to fish with more successful fishermen. Still dedicated to the old man, however, the boy visits Vodai’s hut each night, hauling back his fishing gear, getting him food and talking to him about his life journey and stories from his past…

Director’s Note
The Old Man is a dramatic adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea in Assamese. The mighty Brahmaputra with its tributaries flows through Assam, a state in the North Eastern region of India. It is the lifeline of the people of this valley. The river is witness to the several ups and downs in the life of people living in and around it. People in the valley earn their livelihood and are dependent on the river directly or indirectly, either as fishermen, boatmen or as daily wage labourers. We humans have destroyed nature for our greed. Nature has begun to show its anger in return in the form of disasters. This region around the Brahmaputra River faces frequent floods. This conflict between humans and nature goes on year after year.
Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication with other beings, both in the present moment while also extending into the future. As people grow old, loneliness begins to get manifested in their lives in different forms. At some point in time, this feeling becomes synonymous to existence as one grows old. But, even as this situation seems hopeless, life gifts one with the will power to push oneself mentally, beyond the powers of reasoning, towards a stronger, more positive and optimistic world view.

The Director
Sahidul Haque, an actor, director, designer and painter, belongs to the beautiful land of Assam. He was an active practitioner of folk theatre till college, and then love for theatre led him to HCRFTA, Himachal Pradesh. He then joined the NSD TIE Co. as an actor-teacher for 7 years. He directed more than 35 plays in Hindi, English, Assamese, Non-verbal, Tiwa and Rabha and participated in many national-international theatre festivals like Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Poorvottar Natya Samaroh, Natasurjya Theatre Festival etc.

The Writer
Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist and short-story writer. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He was noted both for the intense masculinity of his writing and for his adventurous and widely publicized life. His succinct and lucid prose style exerted a powerful influence on American and British fiction in the 20th century.

The Group
Orchid Theatre was established on September 2, 2005 at Nagaon, 100 km away from Guwahati, Assam. Guided by famous theatre personality Janada Borah, it was established by Sahidul Haque with the help of 50 energetic young workers of Nagaon. Around 10 villages of Nagaon district are actively attached with the group. Orchid Theatre is engaged in training theatre, dance, music, drawing and painting and holds workshops and activities.

Cast & Credits
On Stage Chanku Niranjan Nath, Barnali Medhi, Bikash Bangthai,
Himangshu Dewri, Sahidul Haque

Music Sonmoni Sharma
Light Tapan Baruah
Costume & Make-up Barnali Medhi
Voice-over poem Chanku Niranjan Nath
Set Sahidul Haque

Assamese Adaptation Dikha Moni Bora
Story Ernest Hemingway
Director Sahidul Haque

Contacts
Director, Orchid Theatre
Dhepajan Morikolong
Nagaon – 782101 Assam
M: +91 9650068254
E: [email protected],
[email protected]

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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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