Theatre Olympic- Crossing Millennia

Gopal Lahiri

Gopal Lahiri

Theatre Olympic is a novel concept of the famous Greek theatre director Theodoros Terzopolos. The first Theatre Olympics was held in Delphi, Greece in 1993. Like in sports Olympics where sports achievements are demonstrated, the Theatre Olympic showcases the theatres of various countries where despite the differences in culture and language, a dialogue is encouraged between the participants and the audiences. It’s a great platform for the students, teachers and the common people to meet the renowned personalities of theatre all around the world under one umbrella and discuss, deliberate and exchange ideas about the theatre intricacies and theatre movement.

The 8th theatre Olympic is currently staged in India and for the first time the Indian theatre lovers are witnessing the excellent and enthralling performances of 25000 artistes from 30 countries including India and breath theatre connecting past , present and future while attending the workshops and seminars and the stage performances. National School of Drama is hosting the theatre Olympics under aegis of Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. The theme of the 8th Theatre Olympics is – Flags of Friendship. The festival was inaugurated in Delhi at Red Fort on 17th February and the festival will be staged in due course of time in 16 states of India. The concluding ceremony will be held at Mumbai. The theatre Olympic has started in Mumbai on 24th March with great enthusiasm and active participation by the passionate theatre goers.

Amongst others, the notable plays of Tagore, Moliere, Joseph Stein, Vijay Tendulkar, Mahesh Elkunchwar, will be staged in Mumbai. The two venues are Nehru Centre and Rabindra Natya Mandir.

I spent one evening at Rabindra Natya Mandir watching the play ‘Sonata’ of Mahesh Elkunchwar performed by Ensemble, Kolkata. A powerful play depicting the human relationships and their complexities enthralled the audience. It recounts a Sunday evening in the lives of three single women who connect, then fight and finally reconnect again leaving the trails of love, humour, agony and pain of their lives. The stage décor and the background music were in tune with the mood of the play. The acting was superb and the play was ably directed by Sohag Sen. There was an interactive session after the play and Mahesh Elkunchanwar recounted the essence of the play and his thought process. Sohag Sen also answered questions from the audience regarding the nuances of the play. The street play based on Third Theatre concept was performed by young actors at the portico of the Rabindra Natya Mandir before the main show at the inside hall.

The Theatre Olympic will be concluded on 8th April and it’s a wonderful opportunity for the theatre lovers of Mumbai to watch some of the best theatres of all time.

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