TODAY -
Asian Theatre festival begins at Chorus with Japanese play 'Lineage'
Source: Manipur Mail

Imphal, January 07: The first ever Asian Theatre Festival formally opened at the Chorus Repertory Theatre Complex at Samushang Uku, with the staging of Lineage, a play by the Black Tent Theatre of Japan.

The play is directed by Natsuka Kiritani.

The play, we are told was scripted in the northern part of Japan and along the process of scripting it, several other stories from other parts of Asia was added to it.

Mitsu comes from the Kubi family - a family on whom tragic events occur one after another in quick succession.

All the young people of the family die one after the other leaving only the old and infirm.

Mitsu marries into the Intu family.

Two events occur to Mitsu, which assumes significance as the play unfolds: first she gets beaten by a mountain dog and secondly she disappears for one whole day and a whole night from the house.

When she eventually came back, people's tongue started wagging, they said she looked suspicious.

Nine months later she gave birth to a baby boy, Tsukio.

Five years after that Mitsu commits suicide, leaving the Tsukio with her grandmother.

The two of them leads an isolated life; they are ostracized by the locality, for it was believed, Tsukio had dog's blood in him.

But eventually Tsukio grows up into a fine young man of poise, charm and intellect.

As to be expected a good offer for marriage comes his way and he marries this young beautiful girl.

But alas! On the morning after the wedding night, the bride was found dead on her bridal bed, she had some marks on her throat which looked like the bite of a dog.

And Tsukio? He was nowhere to be seen.

Prejudice and superstitions, how dangerous a proportion, these can assume; how it affects an individual and eventually destroys him.

This seems to be what the director is trying to communicate.

Watching 'Lineage' was a difficult and frustrating at times since one was facing the insurmountable task of deciphering the dialogue and the unfamiliar cultural codes.

But at times one marveled at the wonderful use of various techniques like back screen projections depicting night scenes, and use of subtitles.

The same back screen is used to depict parallel action somewhere else away from the main playing space through the use of silhouettes and also as parallel action taking place across the transparent screen.

And of course, the fortune teller/story teller played by an NSD trained Indian actress, in the manner of a sutradhar, speaking in English was well conceived.

The use of this theatrical devise went a long way in easing the difficulty and the frustration one was talking about.

Before the staging of Lineage, there was a brief inaugural function.

In his welcome speech, Ratan Thiyam recounted the obstacles he had to face while bringing this festival to fruition and thanked the Governor, Ved Marwah, the Chief Minister, Ibobi and the Arts and Culture Minister, Nara for their help and cooperation.

The Governor, while speaking on the occasion, commended Ratan Thiyam for his dedication to theatre.

Theatre, said the Governor is one of the ways of bringing people together in this strife torn world.

The Chief Minister, Ibobi, after congratulating and commending Ratan Thiyam for organizing together the first ever Asian Theatre Festival, went off a tangent and used the platform to caution the NSCN (IM) leadership against any ulterior designs affecting the territorial integrity of Manipur.

The Chief Minister said, if Muivah gives up his claims on the territory of Manipur and shows an inclination to enter the political arena, he is willing to sacrifice his chair.


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SNIPPETS - 08, JAN 2003
SPORTS - 08, JAN 2003
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