TODAY -
Ritu, Ratan Thiyam's splendid tribute to nature
Source: Manipur Mail

Imphal, January 11: The first ever Asian theatre festival ended here today with the staging of Ritu, celebrated playwright-director Ratan Thiyam s latest production.

Law and Parliamentary affairs Minister L.Nandakumar was the chief guest who declared the festival closed at 'The Shrine' playhouse.

Thiyam, widely acclaimed for his series of plays based on war and violence themes, this time turned his focus on the relationship man and environment.

Ritu, a brilliant portrayal of Indian cycle of six seasons - Grishma, Varsha, Sharad, Hemanta, Shishir and Vasanta - drawn from Kalidas's detailed poetic narrative, 'Ritusamharam', has been an outstanding tribute to nature.

"We are losing touch with nature and environment, which is the prime source of energy," Thiyam said, while explaining how he got interested in Kalidas's masterpiece.

People living in the modern times do not have times to look at the changing nature and his surroundings even though they are getting affected by that.

Pollution, degradation of earth, water and forest are taking away the human vitality, he observed.

"We need to look around and try to link ourselves with the nature to renew our lost energy," he said.

The Philipino musical play, "Panaw", an ode to the mythical forest deity through, Mebuyan, also shares the same thought.

However, while the Phillipino director Cicilia 'Geejay' Arriola has used a popular myth to revitalize the suffering women, Thiyam employed his characteristic forms of communication, that is, adroit use of body language, traditional music and cultural symbols, to depict the distinct elements of a particular season.

What is most striking, and that is how he brings innovation into the play, is the creation of a man neatly dressed in western cloths, who appears on the stage at the end of portrayal of each season and slowly walks by, suggesting the changing time.

It was remarkable.

The five-day festival, that showcased five plays - three foreign (Japanese, Vietnamese and the Phillipino) and two Indian - representing different theatre traditions and experiences, was organized jointly by the Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal and Indian Council of Cultural Relations, New Delhi.

All the three foreign plays were produced and performed by all female theatre groups, will participate in the International women theatre festival in India.

Thiyam said he had been thinking about holding at least a national theatre festival in Manipur for the last several years but he could not succeed for various reasons, especially the problems related to building, basic infrastructure and a minimum corpus required for that purpose.


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SNIPPETS - 12, JAN 2003
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