Rarely seen facets of modern India are set to be examined this week as the Royal Court in London presents its’ 3rd annual New Plays from India theatre fest.
Five plays, first performed at Mumbai’s famed Prithvi Theatre, will have rehearsed readings during the 6-day event which begins Monday November 12.
Among the plays are ‘The Djinns of Eidgah’ by Bengali playwright and director Abhishek Majumdar about the two children affected by the unrest in Kashmir; ‘Shillak’ (Leftovers) by lawyer turned actor and writer Sagar Deshmukh, which explores the impact India’s economic development has had on the country’s traditional way of life; and ‘Mahua’, a play exploring the 40-year-long conflict between members of tribal groups in eastern India and the mining industry.
The plays were chosen from among 12 staged at the Prithvi with the assistance of British playwrights Carl miller and April de Angelis as part of a workshop organized by the Royal Court under the aegis of the head of its international department Elyse Dodgson, and Artistic Director Dominic Cooke.
The workshop’s remit had called for playwright’s to reflect the ‘urgent subjects facing their society that they felt were important to address’.
The result is a plethora of issues that dominate the headlines within India but rarely discussed outside of the sub-continent: from the Maoist insurgency raging through vast swathes of eastern India through the clash of modernity and mythology and the increasing influence of the western-style celebrity culture.
The aim is to prompt debate about those topics that continue to hinder India’s march towards the society envisioned by its rulers at Partition in 1947; a secular, prosperous and – above all – equal society.
The ‘New Plays from India’ festival runs November 12 – 17 at the Royal Court Theatre