BENGALURU: Carrying on its tradition of bringing the art of theatre to the masses, Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival is back in town with its 16th edition. The Festival of Laughter and Forgetting, which will commence on Nov 5, aims to capture the spirit of French writer Milan Kundera’s book, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Apart from the complete collection of Kundera’s work, the venue will also showcase books and material revolving around the theme of the festival.
Curated by the Sandbox Collective, this year’s edition will feature six theatre productions from across the country, with Nava by Dramanon and Aravani Art Project and directed by Sharanya Ramprakash premiering at the festival. The play centres on the transgender community, and explores the stories of nine transwomen who will question, provoke and demolish popular notions of what constitutes the Natyashastra and its nayakis.
“Aravani Art Project has been working with transwomen for many years, involving them in community art projects,” Ramprakash tells CE. “The play came out of a six-month workshop where I worked with nine transwomen, focusing on their perspectives. We bring their stories through the navarasa concept. This would be their first performance in front of a conventional audience,” he adds.
The other productions featuring at the festival are Rihla, directed by Neel Chaudhuri; Sangeet Bari, directed by Savitri Medhatul; The Hunger Artist by Aum Yash Kendra; and Eidgah Ke Jinnat by Bhasha Centre.
“Ranga Shankara holds a special place for me, as we have showcased our work there quite often. It’s one of the most nurturing and hospitable environments for the theatre folk in the country, and the audience. Our play revolves around the critical issue of identity with respect to the places we live in, with a degree of light-footedness,” says Chaudhuri.
The festival will also include attractions, such as a talk by Justice Nagamohan Das, a music concert by Pardafash, and an exhibition by artist Sandeep T K.
“Every single event revolves around laughter and forgetting, and is a response to the times we live in. From the talk given by Nagamohan Das, which focuses on the current times, to Sharanya Ramprakash’s Nava, every piece revolves around the festival theme. There is something for everyone at this festival,” says Nimi Ravindran of Sandbox Collective.
The festival will be held from November 5-10 at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar.