Theatre Festival Plays in Delhi: Folktales, Modern Dilemmas, and Optimism

Shikhandi (The Story of the In-Betweens)
Based on Shikhandi, perhaps one of the earliest transgender mythological characters, the play is a comic, tongue-in-cheek retelling of this character from the epic Mahabharat. The play blends the traditional with the contemporary and questions the concepts of maleness, femaleness and everything in between. The play was first staged as a 20-minute, one-woman performance at Berlin,
Germany in 2010 and challenges stereotypes around gender and sexuality, accepting this fluidity and everyone for who they are. The director Faezeh Jalali is an actor, director, producer, choreographer, teacher, writer and aerialist, and founder of the theatre collaborative, FATS Theatre in Mumbai, a collaborative that experiments with form and socially relevant content on stage. She is the recipient of Tanveer Natya Dharma Puraskar and Dubey-Tendulkar Theatre Fellowship. She has also won the Best Supporting Actor (female) at the META 2017.

Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide
The play talks about the human impulse to commit suicide and the urge to survive that pulls them back from the brink. The play’s music, composed by Eric Satie, is based on polyphonic Corsican songs blended with songs from Bulgaria, Romania, Iceland and Chechnya, forming a new contemporary theatrical rendition with powerful music. Director Jarosław Fret dons many hats – he is the founder and leader of TeatrZAR, a renowned theatre director and actor as well as the curator of the theatre programme of Wrocław: European Capital of Culture 2016. He completed the work on Armine, Sister in November 2013 that relies on elaborate and special stage architecture and original musical dramaturgy while his newest piece Medeas, On Getting Across premiered in 2016. TeatrZAR is a multinational group formed and based in Wrocław. It believes that theatre is not only about ‘thea’ (a Greek word meaning ‘seeing’) but should be heard – the body movement of the singing actor exudes the energy of sound that creates deep images in human mind.

Jagdev Kankali
The play builds on the lore of Jagdev Parmar, one of the Parmar rulers of Malwa, as conveyed through the oral bardic tradition in Rajasthan. It tells the adventures of Jagdev as described in folktale ‘Jagdev Parmar Ni Vaat’ that was translated as ‘Rasmala’ in 1868 A.D. and later included in Rajasthani Vatas in 1934 A.D. The play follows ‘Kuchamani Khyal’ style of storytelling where songs are an important part of the story and the narration. Pandit Lacchi Ram of Kuchaman area developed this style and several akhadas in Marwar and Ajmer regions adopted this style for community performances in villages and cattle festivals. Director Rohit Mathur worked on the form for two years to bring it to the formal theatre arena. He has also performed ‘Kuchamani Khyal’ in North East cities (Guwahati, Shillong, Tejpur, and Itanagar) in 2002. He has performed in various festivals like National Theatre Festival held at Prithvi Theatre in 2003, Sangeet Natak Academy Shwarnutsava in 2003, and Om Shivpuri theatre festival in 2003 and 2014.

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