London is always bursting at the seams with exciting events. But there is one annual fringe theatre festival that is close to my heart – A Season of Bangla Drama. This is now in its thirteenth year and is running from the 1st till the 29th of November 2015; bringing a programme of the best new talent in theatre, dance & music to London’s East End.
The organisers have asked me to review and blog about this year’s plays. And as with every year, it’s an absolute honour for me to engage with a festival I would encourage everyone to attend. It’s a month of discovering emotions within you that you may have never felt before, and watching the stage come alive with colour, powerful delivery, rhythm, and storytelling that continue to enrich our community.
‘Jolēr Bhētor Jolēr Bishorjon’ (Water Immersion in Water)
by Docklands Theatre & Performing Arts
Written and directed by Dr Mukid Choudhury
Sunday at the Brady Centre, an audience was transposed to a bygone era of 1850’s Jalshuka, a low lying area of Habiganj with a set of spectacular colour, wonderful live music and a large cast for the feast that was Joler Bhetor Joler Bishorjon.
The show starts at a pace that is maintained throughout mixing together wonderful dialogue and soliloquy with a visual dance enactment by the seven ever-present dancers on stage. The dancers maintained tremendous poise and form throughout with some dancers often joining in as additional characters with spoken lines. In some scenes however, they were a slight distraction.
The drama centres on the subculture of young boys who were hired to entertain and dance in female clothing for wealthy landowners during colonial times. This culture of Ghetus is expressed wonderfully by the central character who juxtaposes between dialogue and monologue perfectly. This is offset by the relationships that the boy has with members of the elite household and their seemingly bewildering complex state of affairs finding himself as the main protagonist in amongst their web of power complexes. There are subtle tones of sexual desirability that have the right blends of hinting and euphemism without being distasteful and explicit.
The production shows how society was entangled through a plethora of struggles that are symbolised in emotions of lust, cruelty, hierarchy and guilt, which befits the title of the show ‘Water Immersion in Water’. The main protagonist finds himself in the final scene searching to correct familial broken ties. This is represented in its final and most powerful moments. The dancers acts as waves of water and as trees that fill the entire width of the stage as the boy searches out for his Mistress who is escaping from the woes of her kinsmen.
© 2015 Shroomantics ~ Rahima Begum