Earlier this year, Bangamela 2012 initiated an effort to reach out to Bengali theatre performers in North America who have faith in the core values of what theatre truly represents; who believe that theatre is an integral part of our community and serves an analogous function in our lives - for group reflection, confession, expiation and celebration;
In our effort to rekindle the passion for theatre, we asked you to bring your voice to our forum-we were eager to hear your story, and the way you told your story. We implored, "Hold the mirror up and see who you are. Let your play illuminate Bangamela 2012."
We the organizers of the One Act Play competition at Bangamela 2012 are elated at the overwhelming response from drama enthusiasts of USA. While we would have loved to accommodate every team that sent in entries, in the interest of time, we are able to approve six plays from six different states, e.g., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. These plays will be judged by a panel comprising of internationally-acclaimed Directors, playwrights, and actors from Kolkata and Dhaka. Our congratulations and kudos to the six teams who submitted bang-up proposals for One Act Plays embracing the theme of Bangamela 2012 - 'Break the Barriers'-
Chhobi by Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC is based on a short story by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. This is a sweet and simple love story set on the backdrop of Burma before the revolution. Bright and colorful Burmese traditional costumes and Burmese dances enhance this drama. Live instrumental and vocal music, and group dances presented in this play replicate a Broadway musical.
Bengal Foundation of America of New Jersey is presenting Princeton Junction-an original script by this team that deals with the conflict of Bengali diaspora in the US. Specifically, it addresses conflicts between race, religion, gender, and class in the true spirit of the central theme of BangaMela 2012-Break the Barriers.
Carolina Theatre Workshopof North Carolina is staging Shesher Shedin-an original script by this team showcasing a busy executive admitted to a hospital because he speaks gibberish. As this neurological disorder spreads to other victims, his wife goes through a complex process of guilt, surprise, and renewed relationship.
Natyashala of Philadelphia is presenting Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare Ogo Bideshini-another original script based on Tagore's relationship with Argentinian writer Victoria Ocampo. The play is based on the deep and multi-colored human mind that is swayed by ambivalence. This play will showcase traditional costumes of nineteenth century India and South America.
Aabar Chapa Pora Manush from Massachusetts is a satirical play adapted from a story by Kishen Chander. This satirical play depicts the incidents that unfold in the wake of a collapsed tree with a man trapped underneath. Watch how a seemingly simply situation escalates into a crisis of epic proportions. Soon, a brawl ensues with everyone pointing fingers at each other, while the man remains trapped under the tree.
Off-Kendrik of Boston show cases Hinghsha Shomporkito Dharabiboroni - a theatrical rendition of Joy Goswami's poem of the same name. This is a sweeping one person narrative on the origin and spread of "hingsha" or violence. It poses the eternal question - can the earth escape violence?
So the stage is set for a plethora of tastes. We await your responses and look forward to your presence to cheer, enjoy and encourage the eighty to hundred or so participants who will delight us with their performances.
It is indeed a rare occasion to have a competition of this stature or nature in United States and just like you we too are all bit by the bug that is the 'theatre passion'
Samia Mahbub Ahmad is a Hindustani (North Indian) classical vocalist who has received her apprenticeship over the last two decades from Sri Tapan Kanti Baidya, a pioneer of this genre of music in Bangladesh and Vidushi Sumitra Guha (Padma Shri awardee), one of India's premier classical vocalists. Samia has leveraged her classical base to also specialize in Nazrul Sangeet, Bhajans, and global fusion, melding the Hindustani Classical sounds with the rhythms of South Africa and the West. Her published albums are "Srijana Chhande" (2003) - a tribute to the work of Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam of Bengal - and "Tulku: Doors to Paradise" (2007) and "Tulku: The Way of the Mystique" (2009) -- both global compilations produced by Grammy winner Jim Wilson which features seven of Samia's songs composed and performed with Ismail Mohammed, one of South Africa's top musicians.
Through her practice of Hindustani Classical music, Samia has been exploring the notions of spiritual unity in religions that share a common cultural base. Samia has performed live and on television in South Africa, India, Bangladesh and the USA and in the process has received many awards and recognitions, including, performing for Nobel laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalyn Carter. In January of 2009, Samia was selected to be included in the Artists and Scholars Roster of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (State of Maryland), and in July of 2009, she was one of the recipients of the FY 2010 Maryland Traditions Folk Arts and Culture Apprentice Award, given by the Maryland State Arts Council. She is one of the winners of the Montpelier Arts Center (Laurel, MD) Classical Recital Series Competition, 2010-12.
Sankar Chakraborty Trained in Hindustani classical music at the age of 8 from his mother Bina Pani Chakraborty. Subsequently at the age of 10 he received training in classical and Nazrul geeti by Padit Juran Kundu. He stood First in an Audition of Nazrul geeti in Khulna Radio,Bangladesh when when he was 17. Subsequently, he performed bangla modern songs in radio as well. He was also registered song composer of Khulna Radio station. In 1980, he performed in Bangladesh Television to sing modern and Nazrul geeti. He was trained by famous Guru Pandit Shadhan Sarkar and also got training on thumri and light classical from exponent and guru Ustad Zakir Hossian Khan and Pandit Mahendra majumder from Calcutta.
He perfromed at Bishaya Shahitta Kendra Dhaka, Shilpa Kala Academy and Usmani Milanayatan. He has the credit of directing numerous musical shows and performances at Kuwait from 1986 till he migrated to Canada in 1998. In Canada he successfully released another CD on Semi classical songs. He held perfromances in Montreal, Toronto and other cities of north America to the delight of music lovers.
Debasri Mitra is a versatile singer with an amazing voice. Her vocal training began at the early age of four. Initially under Sri Debangshu Mukhopadhyay, a disciple of Pandit Bhismadeb Chattopadhyay, and then under Smt. Sheila Chattopadhyay, a vocalist and sarodia who got her training from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri and others. Growing up in Calcutta, Debasri won many awards as a child singer. She continued her training at the Bengal Music College under the able guidance of stalwarts like Smt. Purabi Dutta, Sri Chandidas Mal and Sri Chinmoy Chattopadhyay.
The ease in which she glides through different genres of Bengali Raag Pradhan, Nazrul Geeti, Rabindra Sangeet, golden era "Adhunik" songs, to "bhakti geeti" speaks of her immense talent. She has a style of her own. The blend of romance, playfulness and melancholy in her voice makes her renditions extremely enjoyable.
Her recent album "Praner Sur" includes a variety offering of Nazrul geeti, Rabindra sangeet and nostalgic old "Adhunik" songs. She has performed in various places in the US. She has taken lead roles in "geeti natya"; "nritya natya"; "mahalaya" and other community musical productions. She also teaches music lessons in the DC area.
DASAVATAR - celebrating poet Jaydevas immortal creation. RDM will present mesmerizing mythological interpretation of the Darwinian theory of the evolution of mankind in pure classical Odissi repertoire.
Participants: Mitra Purkayastha ( http://www.odssinewjersey.com, Nilanjana Banerjee (http://www.odissinila.com ), Deepa Bhandari, Dr Padmaja Upadhya.
Choreography: Guru Muralidhar Majhi & Mitra Purkayastha
Overall Direction : Sukalyan Bhattacharya
Assistants: Saheli Mahapatra & Tapas Mondal
Vocal: Lopamudra Mitra
Percussion: Poushali Mukherjee
Music: Swapan Pakrashi and Ablu
Narration: Satinath Mukherjee
Costumes: Guru Muralidhar Majhi & Sudipa Chakraborty of Scorpion Inc