Art & Culture

Aasakta Theatre Festival at Ranga Shankara

Experimental theatre group, Aasakta of Pune performs outside Maharashtra for the first time. It will explore themes from an urban couples to Rumi’s verses. MyBangalore gives you a prelude.

Experimental theatre group, Aasakta of Pune performs outside Maharashtra for the first time. Known for attributes like fresh talent, innovative and contemporary content, Aasakta has brought theatre closer to the masses in Pune. The ‘Aasakta Theatre Festival’ will be held at Ranga Shankara and Kyra theatre from 13th-16th August

What began as a small conglomerate of college students aspiring to do theatre of their own choice, has now taken shape into a theatre group which has over 300 productions to its credit of which many have won several awards. The group has been guided from time to time by eminent theatre personalities like Vijay Tendulkar, Mahesh Elkunchwar and Amol Palekar among others. All the plays are directed by Mohit Takalkar who has previously worked as a Deputy stage manager and Assistant director to celebrated  Director Tim Supple for his British Council commissioned Indo-UK theatre production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Mohit has been working as a Director in Marathi experimental theatre for eight years now.

The festival opens with the English play ‘Legitimate Hooey’ being staged at Kyra and Ranga Shankara on the 13th and 14th respectively. This hour-long play reveals fifteen nights in the life of a young urban couple. This play examines the conventional questions couples must face every day: Is it better to tell love stories to each other, or just watch TV? Should men be forced to go to for shopping? Should the fan be on even though it makes an annoying sound? Does love really exists or is it just a big reasonable nonsense? Director of the play, Mohit Takalkar says, “Set in an urban present, creating this theatre piece, I was strongly tugged by the idea that there was so much that could be discovered in terms of a language of expression when the space was confined to a single bed. The performances amount to the process of discovering oneself, of holding to one’s loneliness and at the same time making a contact with the world outside. It concentrates on the consciousness of a modern day couple or more precisely a man and a woman.”

Bangalore theatre goers would get an opportunity to watch two hit Marathi plays, ‘Garbo’ and ‘Tu’ as part of the festival on Independence Day. Mahesh Elkunchwar’s play ‘Garbo’ is more on the heavier side as compared to the light-veined ‘Legitimate Hooey’. Garbo talks of a class of young people living aimless lives with frustration born out of shattered dreams and bearing the burden of inhibitions. Tu is a must watch leaving behind inhibitions of not knowing Marathi. Tu has been previously performed at Cairo International Theatre Festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Mahindra Excellence in theatre Festival, Prithvi Theatre festival, Prithvi Poetry Festival and Maharashtra State Festival to packed audiences. They very USP of this piece is that the story unfolds through 52 poems. A story of love set in the times of kings and Fakirs is explored through Rumi’s verses. As the director Mohit puts it, “The words were with us. Too abstract. But too striking. I wanted to do something with them but certainly not a poetry reading session. I did not want to fall flat in comparison to Rumi’s unique, mystic imagery neither would I shadow the words by theatrical experimentation. And later, while being with the words constantly, the characters, locations, situations evolved.  And Satee had a story to tell. There were these characters, situations to play with. The process began. Through a process of about 4 months, all of us have reached where we are today. The play in two acts unfolds the story in the form of somewhat abstract series of events. Rumi’s words have taken place of the dialogues. We have tried to create images that Rumi’s words have transcended through us. I am happy about the way the whole effort has worked out.”

The festival commences with two shows of the hindi play, ‘Bed ke neeche Rehnewali’. The adaptation of a Duncan Well’s story, this is for the children where the play revolves around a child who had an invisible friend who lived under the bed. Mohit opines, “Theatre for children still exists in stories of fairies, kings and queens. Theater for young boys and girls, in India, almost doesn't exist. Even as a child, life today has become much more complex and tougher yet colourful and imaginative. The growing up has become more fierce than before and this is perhaps a call to retain the child within us.” This is Mohit’s first attempt at children’s theatre and he believes this has been his most refreshing production till date.  He adds, “The play is essentially centered on two girls Ira and Manu and the mental and physical pulls of a teenager's life. A forgotten friend, things dumped recklessly under the bed, ghosts in my dreams and understanding parents all came alive when I first read this play. It was a chance to revisit the childhood with so many witnesses along. ‘Bed ke Neeche....’ is a 85 minute roller coaster ride, full of fun, dance, laughter and tears and is sure to interest all children between 10 to 100 years old.”

For theatre goers it would be a packed weekend and with a national holiday placed just right, there is much to look out for.

13 Aug | Thurs | 7:30 pm | LEGITIMATE HOOEY | English | KYRA THEATRE| Dur : 65 min

14 Aug | Fri | 7:30 pm | LEGITIMATE HOOEY | English | RANGA SHANKARA| Dur : 65 min

15 Aug | Sat | 3:30 pm | GARBO | MARATHI | RANGA SHANKARA | Dur: 105 min without interval (CHILDREN BELOW 15 YRS NOT ALLOWED)

15 Aug | Sat | 7:30 pm | TU | MARATHI | RANGA SHANKARA | Dur: 120 min including interval

16 Aug | Sun | 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm | BEDKE NEECHE REHNEWALI | Hindi | RANGA SHANKARA | Dur: 85 min without interval (FOR CHILDREN FROM 10 YRS TO 100 + )

RS. 150 per ticket - Ranga Shankara
Telebooking - Anil Ramachandra (Vibgyor Entertainment) - +9198456 02265

Online Booking -
Ticket bookings are available at the venue from 11th August, 2009.
Contact Ashish Mehta at +91 9922935591 /  


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