By Peter Alex Todd
Guwahati, May 8 : People in Assam recently had a novel experience to celebrate theatre art in a big way for a fortnight, as they attended the first ever Drama festival here.
It was a special experience for many, as the Drama festival offered an opportunity to many theatre groups from different and distant tribal areas of the northeast to perform on a bigger platform.
Organised by the National School of Drama from Delhi in cooperation with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs of the Assam government, the drama festival was a big draw for theatre lovers.
Participated by many artists from different parts of the northeast, the Drama festival was hailed by everyone, as it not only offered something distinct but also ensured a long lasting joy to the theatre lovers.
The festival featured 28 plays by eminent theatre directors of the northeast such as Ratan Thiyam, Kanhailal and Dulal Roy besides works of young directors and NSD graduates such as Baharul Islam and Rabijita Gogoi.
All plays were performed in different languages of the North east and also featured one performance each in Bengali, Kannada, Marathi, Urdu and Hindi to give the festival variety in terms of production styles and text drawn from a variety of sources.
The drama festival was aimed to bring all theatre artists of the region on a common platform and promote the spirit of drama.
The audience besides artists converging from various parts of the northeast maintained that the initiative to organize the event was a admirable way to portray the region in proper perspective.
The event also offered the Rabha tribe of the State an opportunity to perform its first stage show.
Bhagarathi, one theatre artist, said: "Assam and rest of the northeast despite facing a challenge to its peace from insurgents had a good time with this theatre festival, as it added a different joy in public's routine life."
Bharul Islam, another artist, said: "The audience have always been packed and houseful.utside people thinks that there is always tension and bomb blasts in Assam and north east but the festival will prove that there is peace in the State."
The audience gave a tremendous response to the drama festival with packed to capacity shows even on the concluding day.
The festival concluded with the staging of "Laila Majnu", directed by Ram Gopal Bajaj.
Moreover, the good news for all theatre lovers is that the National School of Drama is soon going to open its first centre in the North East.