It’s an encore for 13 of the best plays staged at Ranga Shankara, in a festival celebrating the theatre’s first decade
THE venue that put Bangalore on the thespian map turns 10 this week. Celebrating 4,000 shows and 8,00,000 footfalls since they launched, the alternative theatre venue marks its anniversary dramatically. Running from October 28 until November 9, the 20-show festival brings back 13 of its popular plays.
Behind the scenes
The partnership between the Ranga Shankara team (led by founder Arundhati Nag) and directors, playwrights and actors countrywide goes a long way towards explaining the venue’s success. “It’s not just a venue for hire, the management is fully involved in the ideas and concepts,” explains director Sunil Shanbag, whose play Stories in a Song is being staged as part of the festival. The director of a Marathi adaption of a Karnad play Uney Purey Shahar, Mohit Takalka, agrees. “The warmth that the place radiates is unique, and that gives us a kind of freedom.” Ranga Shankara is credited with transforming the cultural pulse of the city. “The audiences in Bangalore have been trained to appreciate all different kinds of theatre, making for a wonderful vibe,” says Takalka.
Artistic director S Surendranath, explains that the plays include, ‘Two Shakespeare adaptations, two Karnads in different languages, plays from nine cities (one an Indo-German collaboration), in nine languages, two plays for children, five translations, seven pieces of original writing, two devised plays and one vintage international all-time classic.’ The festival will open with Atul Kumar’s Piya Behrupiya, and concludes with Naseeruddin Shah’s Ismat Apa Ke Naam. Look out for Shanbag’s acclaimed musical, Stories in a Song, which unites musicality and theatricality to tell seven independent stories about Indian music. Andrea Gronemeyer’s Boy with a Suitcase brings together Indian and German actors and musicians to tell the story of children displaced by war, through the eyes of a young immigrant who arrives in London.
At Ranga Shankara, J P Nagar. Tickets (Rs. 150 upwards)
— Maegan Dobson Sippy