Centre Stage Creation’s objective is to organize and promote a variety of high quality cultural programs in Kolkata, spanning various fields such as theatre, music, rhetoric, art, literature, etc. Its vision is to revitalize the cultural space in Kolkata Using a two-.‐ pronged approach of catering to a wide and diverse audience and maintaining high standards of quality and consistency of programmes. Centre Stage Creations distinguishes itself from other players in the Kolkata Market through its association with the G.D. Birla Sabhagar – a premiere auditorium. It is also a sister concern of Sanskriti Sagar – a non-‐profit, membership based society, devoted to promoting art and culture. These relationships enable Centre Stage Creations to utilize the facilities and the extensive database of both organizations.
Day 1 (13th July’18) – JHALKARI
Jhalkari Bai is a theatre production based on the real-life historical figure, who was a Dalit (formerly known as Untouchables) soldier in the army of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. As has majorly been the case with Dalit history, accounts of her contribution to what was the First War of Indian Independence (1857) have been obliterated over time. She was an adept battle strategist and warrior, with an all-woman army at her disposal. A look-alike of her queen, she often stood in for the latter in battle. She met her end at the hands of British troops, when she was just 27 years old.
The extensive role played by women and Dalits in the Indian struggle for Independence has been invisibilized over the past century and a half. Jhalkari Bai is a Dalit icon, who laid down her life for her country, in a supreme sacrifice that has been forgotten with time. This project is an artistic attempt at revisiting the signposts associated with her life, celebrating her victories, and bringing to newer generations these lost accounts. An attempt has been made to revive the local language (Bundelkhandi) that thrived in Jhansi during the reign of Rani Lakshmi Bai. It showcases Bundelkhandi folk songs and dances, sword fighting, stick fighting, kallaripayatu and an armed combat. It is of utmost importance to bring to the stage such historical figures who have written out of our history, and provide role models a new for young Dalits and women.
Day 2 (14th July’18) – SHADOW
This is about someone who is a loner. Amidst the smart upstart world he is one who is uncomfortable, helpless and slightly disgruntled. Living in a friendless world for a while, suddenly he discovers a new friend – his own shadow. It is exactly like him. A warm friendship develops between them. This makes him happy and cheerful; he doesn’t feel lonely any more. But gradually he discovers that his shadow is not exactly like him. This makes him disappointed and confused but gradually learns to admit that a friend can never be a replica of one’s self. He accepts his shadow to be a bit different than him. Eventually he discovers his true friend.
As a play SHADOW was a real challenge for me and Jhalapala. This is the first non-verbal play ever attempted by Jhalapala. In the year 2015, when I visited Augenblick Mal! in Berlin, Germany, as a delegate of Goethe Institute, Kolkata, I was really amazed and spellbound to see those performances. That was my first encounter with the modern European Theatre of that kind and this experience left a lasting impression on my mind. After coming back from Berlin I really wanted to do something very new in Jhalapala. During that period all of a sudden one day I noticed a little member of Jhalapala engrossed playing with his own shadow. The concept of this play initiated at that moment. As the play has no specific script the whole play including music, dress and set developed and evolved through a series of workshops. The play is in TYA model – i.e. adult skilled performers of Jhalapala performed in this non-verbal play for children. The first performance was in the rehearsal room of Jhalapala in front of child members of the group. We were quite anxious about the outcome but the joyful and spontaneous reaction and response from these very young members assured us that our new venture was successful.
Day 3 (15th July’18) – The Dandelion Story by Modi Theatre, Korea
The production is an adaption by JungSuk Kim of Jung-Saeng Kwon’s best-selling children’s fairy tale, The Dandelion’s Story, conceptualized and presented by Modl Theatre, Korea. The play tells us a story about a beautiful flower which is born with the help of something trivial, unexpected and perhaps even as dirty as poo. The story, which is endearingly simple, unfolds the profoundly universal truth that everything has its purpose in the cycle of life.
About Modl Theatre
Established in 1989, Modl Theatre had been widely recognized for its high quality performances of Korean original plays and musical comedies. In addition to performances at their own threatre in Seoul, Modl Theatre had been fulfilling the needs of the public with little or no access to the performing arts by conducting free tours for children in special needs schools or children living in remote villages or islands. Commemorating its 30th anniversary, Modl Theatre has to its credit several acclaimed shows in Korea and abroad.