If you are a theatre lover who has lived in Mumbai for a while, then you have probably already marked your calendar with the dates of the upcoming Prithvi Theatre Festival (PTF). The fest, which first started in 1983, is in its 30th year and is packed with 28 performances of 15 different plays this season.
While on the one hand, the festival will feature popular productions from established Mumbai-based theatre groups such as Motley and Rage, there are also some new productions like The Glass Menagerie, which is being directed by popular actor Rajit Kapur, Bijon Mondal’s Rashomon Blues and Hidayat Sami’s Umrao, among many others.
Talking about what’s new this time, Kunal Kapoor, trustee at Prithvi, says, “There are plays with new energy and excitement. We also have a session called stageTalk@Prithvi where directors will talk about their work, journey and ambitions. These discussions will be held at Prithvi House with a live audience that can participate.” The stage talk sessions will also be recorded and uploaded on Prithvi’s website. “Hopefully, this will create an archive of theatre professionals and their history,” adds Kapoor.
With many production companies in the city thriving currently, ask Kapoor about the criteria for selection of new plays and he says, “After discussions with our regular groups, we jointly lay down the parameters which are to be followed,” says Kapoor. In addition to local theatre groups, the festival will also feature performers from Pondicherry, Kolkata and Pune.
The Glass Menagerie
Directed by: Rajit Kapur
Abandoned by her husband, Amanda comforts herself with recollections of her earlier life when she was pursued by ‘gentleman callers’ while Laura, her shy, crippled daughter, has her glass menagerie and her memories. Amanda is desperate to find her daughter a husband, but when the long-awaited gentleman caller does arrive, Laura’s romantic illusions are crushed.
When: November 9; 6 pm, 9 pm
Directed by: Bijon Mondal
A sword fighter and his wife are assaulted by a notorious criminal. The mishap results in a rape and murder. The testimonies presented at the trial by each witness are very different from each other. Who is telling the truth? This play is based on Akira Kurosawa’s classic movie, Rashomon (1950).
When: November 8; 6 pm, 9 pm
Directed by: Satyadev Dubey
A comedy of letters adapted from the correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and Mrs Patrick Campbell. This play recreates their intriguing relationship and stars veteran thespians Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah.
When: November 18; 6 pm, 9 pm
Directed by: Hidayat Sami
The English are about to take over Oudh officially, and the nation is awakening to the thought of being oppressed. Umrao does not know how to wield a sword or how to wage a war, yet she yearns to do something. She leaves the kotha she works at and steps out as an independent woman seeking her own destiny.
When: November 7; 6 pm, 9 pm
Directed by: Manoj Shah
Master Madam (also known as Bhagavadajjukam) is the oldest surviving Indian comedy (the written form dates back to 610 AD), and little is known about its origins or authorship. It revolves around metamorphosis — a subject that has been dealt with by literature giants like Shakespeare and Kafka.
When: November 10; 6 pm, 9 pm
Catch the festival at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu from November 5 to 18. Log on to their website for the full schedule