‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival from December 15

Guwahati: Theatre aficionados are in for a treat as the 13th edition of the ‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival will begin from December 15 at Badungduppa Kalakendra at Rampur in Assam’s Goalpara district.

The unique theatre festival is held every year in the midst of the sal tree plantation. It is organised completely in natural settings without using any artificial devices, not even a microphone to enhance the voice of the actors.

The organisers use only bamboo and straw to build the stage and the sitting arrangements for the spectators.

Altogether, seven plays will be staged in the three-day festival this year. One play is from Sri Lanka, while the rest are from different parts of India.

“We are thrilled to bring back the next edition of ‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival. The love and affection given to us by the theatre lovers of the region made us believe that we can continue presenting some of the best plays in the lap of nature. Do join us as we continue the revolution started by our founder Sukracharjya Rabha,” said managing director Madan Rabha.

The plays that will be staged during the festival are – Rishi Jolongka in Rabha language from Goalpara, Alor Gaan (Song of Light) in Bengali and Marathi from Maharashtra, My Sweet Rotten Heritance in English from Sri Lanka, Atho Hidimba Kotha in Bengali from West Bengal, Erendira’s Metamorphosis in Assamese from Guwahati, Jhalkari in Hindi from Mumbai and Pancho No Vesh in Gujarati/Hindi from Ahmedabad.

In some of the previous editions, theatre groups from South Korea, Brazil, Poland, and neighbouring Bangladesh also participated in the festival.

Spearheading the avant-garde movement of ‘Hygiene Theatre’ since its inception, late Sukracharjya Rabha, one of the acclaimed theatre personalities of the region, organised the theatre festival in the midst of nature to spread the message of the importance of co-existing with nature, establishing a symbiotic relationship.

Started in 2008, the festival seeks to experiment and inaugurate a new idiom of performance with a special focus on redefining reality through self-realisation by inversion of the colonial ‘self/other’ binary, avoiding the tradition of imitating the ‘other’.

Late Rabha and his theatre group – Badungduppa Kalakendra – earned international recognition for the open-air theatre festival titled ‘Under the Sal Tree’. 

Sukracharjya Rabha passed away in 2018.

This year, the festival is supported by the Chief Minister of Assam, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, Indian Oil Limited Corporation, and Bongaigaon Refinery.

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