Northeast India’s ancient theatre comes to capital


New Delhi : The ancient theatrical genres of northeast India will come out of their traditional bastions with the “Indigenous Theatre Festival of Northeast India” beginning at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in the national capital April 2-10.

Support TwoCircles

The third in the series of theatre panorama from the northeast, the festival this year will turn its attention to the ancient and traditional forms of theatre from the region unlike last year, when the festival established an inter-cultural dialogue between the northeatern states and Southeast Asia.

The 10-day festival will be accompnaied by a four-day dialogue on “Theatre of Northeast India – Past, Present and Future” to be inaugurated by culture secretary Jawhar Sircar April 4. Thirty-six scholars and performing artists will deliberate on the key issues being faced by traditional theatre.

The showcase will begin with “Devi Durga” – a traditional play by the Kamarupia Dhulia Dal, followed by “Sakei Lu Lam” by the Mizo Theatre Guild on April 2.

The subsequent schedule includes “Balan (Sikkim)”, “Tangkhul Nurabi (Manipur)”, “Konxalaya (Srimanata Sankardeva Kalakshetra)”, “Lichaba’s Daughter (Nagaland)”, “Longtoraini Ekolobya (Tripura)”, “Janong Jinong (Assam)”, “Chati Kango (Arunachal Pradesh)”, “Loikaba (Manipur)”, “Lianhnuna and Tlanthangi (Mizoram)”, Du-Kon (Megalaya)”, “Radhar Man Bhajan (Tripura)” and “Kao Phaba (Manipur)”.

“The canvas like last year is large and significant because we are reviving many dying forms of theatre which are rarely performed outside the regions to which they belong. The forthcoming generations may not be able to see these genres,” Alka Saikia, associate coordinator of the festival, told IANS.

According to Saikia, one of the objectives of the festival is to open up cultural dialogies between the eight northeastern sisters states.

“Many states are not familiar with performing arts traditions elsewhere in the region,” Saikia said.

It will also be a platform to resolve several points of cultural differences stemming from the prevailing spcio-political situations in the region. The plays will retain the purity of traditions and story-telling,” Saikia said.

The majority of the themes will be tales from mythology, folk and scriptures “at a time when Bollywood is taking over theatre”, she said.

She said, “The lack of re-orientation of the institutional culture estiblishments in northeast India and the lack of new thrusts in universities about the subject of performing arts are creating deep vacuum in the discourse of creativity in northeast as a whole”.

“The festival also aims to address the need by creating discourses and recommending policy guidelines for performing arts in the region,” Saikia said.