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Letter reaches city

chandigarh Updated: Apr 19, 2012 18:32 IST
Usmeet Kaur

Now, this is an envelope that every theatre lover would open with bated breath. City's own, internationally acclaimed, theatre director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry brings to town the play, A Wife's Letter, which is a dramatised adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's short story, Streer Patra, in Punjabi.

"This play has travelled to different parts of the country and we have managed its 22 successful shows till date, but this is the first time that this play comes to town," Commissioned by The Tagore Society, the play was also staged at the Rabindra Utsav in Kolkata in 2010 to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore.

The one-hour play has been translated and adapted by Punjabi poet Surjit Patar. Neelam says, "Tagore was a speaker for women's rights. In this play a woman's cry of freedom also becomes the cry of the Swadeshi movement."

The play's protagonist is a child bride, Mrinal (played by both Ramanjit Kaur and Vansh Bharadwaj), who writes poetry secretly to assuage the listlessness of her mundane life.

Interestingly, Vansh is the performer and Ramanjit the narrator in a story that moves back and forth in past and present, while also overlapping time and space. There is another character, Bindu, a young orphan, played by Gick Grewal.

Ramanjit, who has been working with Neelam for the past 25 years, says, "This play will push to think deeper and will raise questions about women's voice in the society and man-woman relationship."

Grewal, in her 50s, plays a young girl. "I loved my two plaits and felt younger," she smiles. For Vansh Bharadwaj, "Playing a woman wasn't difficult but different".

Neelam has been balancing her theatre troupe 'The Company' along with teaching at the Department of Indian Theatre, PU. Her troupe has participated in major national and international festivals, including The London International Festival of Theatre and Zanani Festival in Lahore.

In July she plans a one-week opera workshop in the UK. "I am trying my hand at opera for the first time," she smiles and wraps up on a TS Eliot note, "For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business"

The play will be staged at Rock Garden's amphitheatre, phase 1, from April 19 to 23 at 7pm