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Manipuri Theatre to celebrate 15th anniversary

Staff Correspondent

Manipuri Theatre, a troupe that aims to popularise Manipuri performing arts and culture across the country, will celebrate its 15th anniversary through a daylong programme on September 23 at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka. The Maulvibazar-based troupe will stage its most recent play “Kohe Birangana”, while invited troupe Manipuri Natpala Shilpi Shangstha will stage a demonstration of the indigenous performing art form, Manipuri Natpala.

Seasoned theatre personality Mamunur Rashid will be present as chief guest at the inaugural programme.

Manipuri Natpala usually narrates the akhyan (story) of Radha, Krishna with a strong essence of Vaishnavism. Incorporating traditional Manipuri dance and music, the performance features local instruments such as mridanga, dhol and kartal. The pala will be directed by noted artiste of the genre, Bidhan Chandra Sinha. The pala will feature eleven performers.

“Kohe Birangana” has been written and directed by Shubhashish Sinha, chief of Manipuri Theatre. The play is based on Michael Madhusudan Dutt's “Birangona Kabyo”.

“Birangona Kabyo” features the agonies of major female characters from the epic “Mahabharat”. “Birangona Kabyo” has 11 verses, from which Shubhashish has adapted four for his play. The play features stories of Shakuntala, Draupadi, Dushala and Jona.

The play has been written and is performed in a lyrical form known as 'poyar'. Jyoti Sinha plays the four characters. It will be the 25th show of the play.

During its 15-year journey, Manipuri Theatre has produced 27 plays. Some of its notable productions are “Shri Krishna Kirtan”, “Dhajo Mestorir Maron”, “Ingal Andhar Pala” and “Kohe Birangana”. Apart from theatre productions, the troupe regularly holds shows featuring traditional performing arts such as Raas Leela, Natpala, Rakhal Raas etc. The troupe has also published a journal -- “Manipuri Theatre Potrika”.

Courtesy: The Daily Star [September 22, 2011]

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