Sunday, October 2, 2022

Associated Press photos: Pandemic-hit theaters in India’s northeast

GUHATI, India ( Associated Press) – Traveling theater groups in India’s northeastern state of Assam are revitalizing the local arts and culture scene after the COVID-19 pandemic halted their performances for a year and a half.

Seven revolving theater companies are back on stage in front of crowds in villages, towns and cities across the state. These mobile theaters are among the most popular forms of local entertainment.

“The response from the public has been very good. They love live performances. We have no competition from the television and digital boom,” said Prathana Parashar, a top Assamese actress, owner of Awahan Theater Group.

Before the coronavirus hit the region, around 50 theater groups, each consisting of 120 to 150 people, performed across the state. They will begin in September, coinciding with major Hindu festivals such as Durga Puja and Diwali, and continue through April.

Awahan Theater is among groups that have resumed performances and ended its season last week with the arrival of the traditional New Year.

Drama is an integral part of Indian culture and mobile theater groups do not limit themselves to mythological and social themes. He has covered classic Greek tragedies in the past, stories from Shakespeare and historical topics such as the sinking of the Titanic, Lady Diana and Osama bin Laden’s 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

The group travels with directors, actors, dancers, singers, technicians, drivers and cooks, plus all the stage infrastructure, to perform three shows at the same venue, like a circus show, before moving on to the next temporary venue. . The performances feature many top artistes from the state, including Bhabesh Barua, Tapan Das, Mridul Bhuyan and Pranjana Dutta.

During the pandemic-related pause in live theatre, some artists and musicians tried their luck in television or digital content, two industries that have depressed the market for films in Assam.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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