Review: Francesca on the Bahuroopi National Theater Festival


Mysuru. City of history, beauty, culture. “The cleanest city in India”, points out the auto driver who is transporting us to the Bahuroopi Theater Festival held at Kalamandira. The festival was born 30 years ago and which continues today to host important artists and companies from all over India.

The Kalamandir is a marvelous structure intended for performing arts that houses three theatrical halls of various sizes, a large amphitheater, a projection room and an exhibition hall for paintings and sculptures.

This year the artistic direction of the Festival has been entrusted to the honored director Bhagirathi Bai Kadam, who’s work is important in the Indian performative scene. She is a woman who began her artistic career in the village where she was born and who has contributed to revolutionize the concept of acting in a country very tied to its scenic traditions.

Many performances took place in Rangayana in the many languages of the Indian sub-continent: Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, English and Tamil as well. Being Italian and only knowing English, I could still appreciate the ability of the artists who performed on stage to go beyond the mere verbal communication. They allowed me to capture atmosphere, feelings, emotional worlds and traditional colors that are distant from me – a marked cultural difference.

An important festival therefore, where artistic ideas are deeply rooted in the heart.

Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure to follow all the performances, which were many and whose schedules overlapped each other. I can however mention the work of some companies, like the show “Notes on Chai”, written and directed by Jyoti Dogra and “R.I.P”. by Savita Rani. Both these performances have in common the break from the tradition for what concerns the creative process. In fact they don’t follow the traditional way of creating a performance –starting from a script already written – but from a free and boundless research within the unconscious world of the artist herself. For this you can watch some of my interviews that will be uploaded on “Satsang Project – my creative process” channel on youtube.

Strong was the presence of the feminine theme: Women and courageous artists who have investigated the world of male violence and female suffering in a strongly patriarchal society. Among them it’s worth to list the work of Director Rasik Aghase and her actresses in “Museum a species in danger” (see interview on “Satsang Project – my creative process” channel on youtube).

Also present at the festival was the company of an old acquaintance of Auroville, that of Director S. Murugabhoopathi based in Madurai, Tamilnadu. “Mrigavidushagam” was the title of the performance that will come to the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium in the coming months. The wise use of lights and colors create an introspective atmosphere and strong dynamic overlapped the markedly physical evolution of the actors on stage. This is a typical feature of Director S. Murughabhoopathi who creates them in every performance and that makes them invariably attractive.

The festival hosted as a subtext an important debate on the subject of internal migration in India, attended by several of India’s most important artistic and cultural personalities like Sri V.N. Mallikarjunaswamy, Sri Mahesh Elkunchwar, Sri P Sainath, Smt. Nandita Haskar and Sri Bala Gurumurthy.

It was a strong, sweet, beautiful experience that motivates me even more to provide Auroville with a Theater Festival open to all India and the world .

By Francesca – Satsang Project

17TH BAHUROOPI NATIONAL THEATER FESTIVAL
JANUARY 14 – 21 2018
RANGAYANA, MYSURU