A Sinister flight! Poem by Aneeta Chitale

Birds afraid to come down
Birds over the sinister city

I was a happy bird….with great
Wings to fly …thousands of miles
In open skies…..in cloudy pallets
I flew in seamless oceans
Across the seven seas and
Five continents….in peace!
I knew I was the best chosen
By The Creator….God! Almighty!

I flew in all directions….untill
One day, me and my friends
flew to Wuhun…..China.

The land of plenty
The stuff the make..’.made in China!’
I flew no more…..as
I could feel and see sinister things one day….17 feb 2020
I saw people in bio…suits wearing masks….
These were the human beings
Plundering in n out
With Masks tied on their faces
They rattled here and there….

Untill …we saw many humans succumb to deaths ….in thousands!

No birds flew, no birds chirped, no peacocks danced, and no humans were seen ….
In broad day light, as if the sun had not rose …..on those days…
The deaths tolled but no one cried
Of pathos and woes!
Their were silent fickle cries
….no moaning of deaths…no sermons read…
when your
Beloved parts…..suffocated breaths!

The hues…very stoic n still
Roads that roared of thousands of cars n speeding vehicles
Were barren ….all deserted roads
The people were sick….were quarantined by state n folks!

No birds chirped, peacocks danced, no church bells rang
No tombs clad with wreath!
No obescience no moaning pictures
No ships sailed! No Airplanes flew
No tubes shuttled
All that rattled were people
On masks n deathbeds!

No Monk came to bless the departed!
No President read grieving speeches!
No Countries were told of
This pandemic and deaths charts read
They hushed up WHO !

Such is the gloom and cunning guise
All under the subterfuge , of a Corona Virus- Mask!
No people spoke in Chinese Lands!
Their markets closed in Wuhun!

Then….we all paled in the face of death….my friends went to far of lands ….
Thinking it were safe n happy,
But my friends the Corona Virus had plagued…..more deaths in this pandemic….
Millions lay sick and fighting for life!
The Leaders of Countries World Over, were shattered
But uttered words of promise n hope for mankind!
Cities are locked down, no ships catered on ocean routes
No planes flew in blue skies
No peacocks danced this Spring Season
No Spring Equinox celebrated!

No birds flew in seamless skies…
But birds and animals gathered in hooks and
Prayed for all beings well being!

The shepherd’s took a different route !
Something is sinister down China road!

The old traders, turned their routes off- China routes!
The Black Blanket Covered it all!

I flew away, away thousands of miles
With my friends …!
I knew this…..when I saw my reflection in crystal clear waters!

Tripurari Sharma’s MAYA MEGH

Playwright & Director: Tripurari Sharma
Group: NSD Sikkim Repertory, Gangtok
Language: Nepali
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Play
This is a tale which revolves around the life of a couple that leads an ordinary life and bicker incessantly. The wife is depressed about how her life turned out to be and hopes for salvation. One day the God of Death, Yama sends his messengers to inform her that she has only twenty-four hours from now to live, after which she would depart from the earth. The husband grows furious when he learns of this but is later deeply saddened by the news. He gradually realizes how precious his wife is to him. The wife, knowing that her end is near, tries to live her entire life within the span of a day. The play follows how the husband finds ways and means to fight the order of universe and dissuade the God of Death from taking her away.

Director’s Note
The Gond tale, on which the play is based, deals with the ingenuity of a man who wants his wife to live. The story reflects the imagination of a community which places men and Gods in a frame of combat that has reference both in the might of the divine and human behavior. The tale talks of a time when Gods personally came to earth to take a person away at the time of departure from earth. This is also a moment of reckoning, of being born anew and a rediscovery of the world. Set in the midst of mist and clouds, the performance creates a narrative of fantasy. The simple minded clear focus of husband contrasts with that of wife’s emotions oscillating between life and death; and the narrow minded avarice and complacency of others around. The logic that a woman cannot go without her husband’s consent is carried to extreme in order to keep her away from death. The tale with its ambiguity intrigues. The man is both villainous and heroic. The triumph renders possessiveness, tempered with love and integrity, almost a virtue. It was a rare opportunity to explore the tale with the actors of the Repertory Company of Sikkim, NSD. Each moment was full of spirit and delight.

The Director & Playwright
Prof. Tripurari Sharma, born in 1956, is a graduate from Delhi University with Honors in English Literature. She completed her diploma from NSD in 1979 with specialization in Direction. She has written and directed a number of plays and has been associated with several theatre groups throughout the country and abroad. She has written scripts of critically acclaimed films like Mirch Masala and Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa and has also written and co-directed a few short films on the theme of the adolescent girl child and has been associated with the Street Theatre Movement. Prof. Sharma has travelled with her group to Norway, England and Pakistan and represented India in the first Women Playwright‘s Conference in USA, 1988. She was honored with the Sanskriti Award, Delhi, in 1986 and also by the Delhi Natya Sangh in 1990. In 2013, she was conferred with the Sangeet Natya Akademi Award for her immense contribution in the field of theatre direction. At present, she is a Professor of Acting in the National School of Drama.

The Group
Sikkim Theatre Training Centre is the first centre of the National School of Drama outside Delhi established in the year 2011. Situated in the lush green picturesque valley of Gangtok, the centre offers a year-long extensive training in theatre. In 2012, the centre started its Repertory Company in which students from the previous year’s training program are selected as artists.

Cast& Credits
Maya: Ranjana Manger
Santey: Bikram Lepcha
Bhatti Wala: Tashi Lepcha
Bhatti Wali: Prarthna Chettri
2 Old Women: Pabitra Kri. Gautam, Tila Rupa Sapkota
Yam Doot 1: Satyam Gurung
Yam Doot 2: Buddiman Rai
Yamraj: Tushar Nirala
Pregnant Woman: Chandrika Chettri
Shikari Kancha: Birbal Subba
Old Man: Nitlesh Chhetri
Sabji Wali: Balsrame A Sangma
Jhakri: Birbal Subba
Bhes Dance: Suman Rai / Birbal Subba
Badal: Chandrika Chettri, Prarthna Chettri, Suman Rai, Balsrame A Sangma, Vupen Gurung, , Bhuwan Sharma, Barsha Basu Thakur
Dance: Chandrika Chettri, Tashi Lepcha, Prarthna Chettri, Vupen Gurung, Bhuwan Sharma, Balsrame A Sangma
Villagers: Vupen Gurung, Anil Kr. Manger, Tashi Lepcha,Nitlesh Chhetri, Birbal Subba, Pabitra Kri. Gautam, Prarthna Chettri, Tila Rupa Sapkota, Balsrame A Sangma, Bhuwan Sharma, Barsha Basu Thakur.

Technical in-charge: Goge Bam
Production Coordinator: Lhakpa Lepcha
Stage Manager: Chakra Bdr. Chettri
Light & Set Design: Dipankar Paul
Light Assistant, Execution & Operation: Chakra Bdr Chettri
Set Execution: Tashi Lepcha, Sanjeev Sharma
Costume Design: Anil Kr. Manger
Sound Execution: Nitlesh Chhetri
Assistant: Uttam Gurung
Musicians: Uttam Gurung, Birbal Subba, Subrata Banerjee, NishithMajumdar, Tathagata Banerjee, Partha Sil, Suman Rai, Sayan Chakraborty

Stenography Painting: Dhiraj Pradhan
Poster & Brochure: Sangeet Shrivastava
Choreographer: Kiran Lama
Nepali Translation: Hasta Kr. Chettri
Property Design & Making: Jeewan Limboo
Assistant: Prem Pradhan, Buddiman Rai
Assistant Director: Bikram Lepcha
Associate Director: Vinod Bahadur Rai

Music Director Raghuvir Yadav
Playwright & Director: Tripurari Sharma

Peter Brook & Jean-Claude Carrière’s CHARAHARUKO SAMMELAN (Conference of the birds) Director: Deeya Maskey

Playwright: Peter Brook & Jean-Claude Carrière
Director: Deeya Maskey
Group: Actors’ Studio, Nepal
Language: Nepali
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Play
Birds from all over the world gather together for a great conference. The nation of birds is in crisis, and urged by one of their flock, the Hoopoe, they have to chart a path to find their king Simurgh. For this they need to travel a long way towards the mountain called Kaf. During this journey, some die, some drop out, while others continue their quest of discovery, love, understanding, disappointment, destruction, unity and death. At last the survivors come into the presence of the great one, and discover that they themselves are the embodiment of the divine.

Director’s Note
Seven years ago, I came across Conference of the Birds while attending a physical theatre workshop jointly organized by Actors’ Studio and Embassy of US in Nepal. Description of the seven valleys seemed mythical and ancient on one hand and new and ultra-modern on the other. It was the perspective and relevancy that enabled me to stage the ancient masterpiece in today’s context. Through physical gestures and dialogues, each actor has tried to convey different unexplored meanings of the text. I have left a few things as mystery.

The Director
Deeya Maskey is a renowned actor, dancer and TV personality in Nepal. She initially trained as a professional Indian classical dancer from Allahabad, India and later completed her training in acting at Actors’ Studio, Nepal. Since then she has been practicing contemporary dances to explore a unique style by using the body, spatial relationship, kinesthetic responses and voice. Some of the famous films that she has acted in are Kagbeni, Soongava, and Fitkiri. She has worked as a choreographer for several theatre and film productions. She is also a judge in the Nepali edition of MTV Roadies show, Himalayan Roadies.

The Playwrights
Peter Brook contributed significantly to the development of 20th century’s avant-garde stage. He established the International Centre of Theatre Research in 1970 in Paris. He has won multiple Tony and Emmy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award, the Praemium Imperiale, and the Prix Italia. He has been called ‘The greatest living theatre director’.

Jean-Claude Carrière is a renowned French novelist, story-writer and actor. He is known for his works as writer and actor in Luis Buñuel’s films Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and Birth. He has received Best Live Action Short Film Award (1963) as well as Academy Honorary Award (2014) for lifetime achievement. He has also been honoured with the Padma Shree, award in India.

The Group
The Actors’ Studio has been performing in Nepal and abroad for more than one and a half decade. It has carved a niche in Nepali theatre by staging artistic yet committed and socially relevant plays, and establishing the presence of Nepali theatre in the international arena by producing radical and experimental works.

Cast & Credits
The Hoopoe: Suraj Malla
Heron Aayushman: Pyakurel
Partridge/Slave 2: Arjun Neupane
Sparrow: Roshani Tamang
Falcon: Gaurav Bista
King 1/Dervish/Slave 1: Sudam CK
First Exotic Bird: Anup Neupane
Second Exotic Bird: Manoj Thapa Magar
King 2/Walking Bird/ Bat: Anoj Pandey
Old Man/Mahatma: Anup Baral
Duck/ Thief 1: Prakriti Rayamajhi
Nightingale/Cal bird/ Slave: Binita Thapa Magar
Princesses: Sadhana Bhandari
Parrot: Anu Dahal
Peacock: Deeya Maskey
Owl: Keshav Thagunna
Thief 2: Aashish Shrestha
Chamberlain/Executioner: Suryaman Limbu
Double Bird: Shiksha KC
Hermit: Bikas Neupane
Guilty Bird: Ranjana Bhattarai
Dove bird: Hena Nagarkoti

Production Manager: Dev Neupane
Set Construction: Hum BC / Sagar BC
Stage Props: Suryaman Limbu / Anil Subba
Marketing Manager: Aayushman Pyakurel
Costume Design: Sunu Rai / Binita Thapa Magar /Sadhana Bhandari
Finance Manager: Keshav Thagunna
Light Design: Anup Baral
Light Operator: Dev Raj Sunuwar
Sound Craft / Operator: Devendra Neupane
Stage Manager: Anoj Pandey / Roshani Syangbo
Documentation: Sushil Paudel
Translation: Pushpa Raj Acharya

Playwrights: Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière
Direction: Deeya Maskey

William Shakespeare’s CROWNLESS PRINCE Director: Bhaskar Boruah

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Director: Bhaskar Boruah

Group: Replica, Jorhat

Language: Assamese

Duration: 1 hr 28 mins

The Play

Crownless Prince is the story of prince Hamlet whose father is murdered by his uncle, Claudius who, soon after the funeral marries his sister-in-law. Hamlet is unable to accept the sudden death of his father and the hurried re-marriage of his mother. The ghost of King Hamlet commands his son to avenge his death by killing his uncle. Hamlet affects madness and with the help of a troupe of players stages a play, the plot of which is told by the ghost. The performance finally leads to the death of the whole family.

Director’s Note

It is a common saying that as soon as one gets attached to Hamlet, he/she can’t evade it, as his way of seeing life changes after that. Same was the case with me. I got associated with Hamlet during one of my classes while I was studying at N.S.D. I played the role of Hamlet then and I don’t think his psychology ever left me. For me, there is no place for Hamlet and his emotions in the beautiful facade of the world that surrounds him. The revenge that prince Hamlet is called to wreak upon his uncle by his father’s spirit dispirited Hamlet. Hamlet’s situation can be traced to the untimely death of our political figures as well. When I started the work, it was meant to be a solo piece. But as I went along I realised that Hamlet cannot exist without the crisis of the world that he lives in, as each character brings out a different face of the crown prince. His ‘madness’ is as much due to external factors as it is due to his internal conflicts. These are the views regarding Hamlet which I have tried to present in front of you in this stylized piece.

The Director

Bhaskar Boruah is an upcoming playwright, director, and theatre trainer. He graduated from National School of Drama, New Delhi in 2015, with Specialization in Acting. He has directed many stage plays like Junakirkothare, Dhemalirkothare, Xastirxondhanat, Karnaittyadi, Monai, Tetontamuli, Bharmi, Ravan, Hamlet, Rjardeul, Kekoni, Oi…Who am I? etc. He established his group Joonak (a group of little stars) in 2008. He has worked with acclaimed theatre directors from India and abroad. As an actor, he has acted in 45 stage plays and participated in 18 National/International theatre festivals including Shakespeare’s International Theatre Festival held in China and Serbia, and Colombo International Theatre Festival in Sri Lanka.  

The Playwright

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who is considered one of the greatest writers to ever use the English language. He is also the most famous playwright in the world, with his plays being translated in over 50 languages and performed across the globe for audiences of all ages.

The Group

Replica was established in 1997 and has taken part in various all India cultural activities. It has received appreciation for its street plays, musical plays, stage dramas, mono-acts, etc. It also organizes The North-East India Drama Festival, a 45 days Residential Drama Workshop and stages the workshop production for 30 days at a stretch.

Cast & Credits

Hamlet: Bhaskar Boruah

Ghost: Bhaskar Tamuly

Claudius: Nitu Gogoi

Gertrude: Neelakhi Gohain

Ophelia: Dorothy Bhardwaj

Polonius: Kaushik Hazarika

Horatio: Bijit Borgohain

Laertes: Himanshu Gogoi

Marcellus: Ajay Mech

Grave Digger : Debajit Bhuyan

Bernardo: Bijit Kumar Das

Players: Mitali Saikia, Nitu Gogoi, Ajay Mech, Bijit Kumar Das, Rosey Mudoi, Kaushik Hazarika

Light Design: Bharat Chutia

Set Design: Bhaskar Boruah

Assistant Set Designer: Shivam Saikia, Ajay Mech, Nitu Gogoi

Music Direction: Bhaskar Boruah, Raktutpol Bharadwaj

Costume Design: Bhaskar Boruah

Assistant Costume Designer: Apsara Khan, Mitali Saikia

Properties: All Team Members

Set Design: Bhaskar Boruah

Subtitles Projection: Sanjib Pathok

Assistant Set Designer: Bharat Chutia, Ajay Mech, Nitu Gogoi

Make-up: All Actors

Stage Setup, Co-Make-up & Wardrobe Stylist: Rupjyoti Mahanta, Satyam Kushwaha, Modhusmita Goswami

Movement Choreography: Bijit Kumar Das

Stage Manager: Nipen Bora

Team Leader & Secretary: Rupjyoti Mahanta

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Assamese Adaptation, Design & Direction: Bhaskar Boruah