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Epic meets politics



Forum Three tackles social issues through theatre. — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

CONCEIVED AS a "Third World Theatre Forum", Forum Three evolved 25 years ago to tackle political issues and social commentaries. Today, however, this Bangalore-based theatre group, "doesn't do just political plays but creates razzmatazz, entertainment and social commentary," explains member Ranjon Ghoshal, who has directed and acts in the group's latest offering: Mareech, The Legend.

This self-proclaimed "new play with social relevance" is based on Arun Mukherjee's script, exploring contemporary issues of power play whether in the drafting of young GIs to the Iraq war or, closer home, the manipulation of local youth by power hungry political parties. Present day situations are played against the backdrop of the Mareecha episode from the Ramayana.

Mareech held the power to create an optical illusion of a deer which charmed Sita, lured Ram and Lakshman out of their home in a vain attempt to capture it. In the story of Mareech, playwright Mukherjee sees echoes of similar, contemporary stories of manipulation and power politics. Seeking to bridge the chasm between localtheatre and English-speaking urban audiences, Forum Three focusses on Indian plays and has negotiated the audience-playwright divide through play reading sessions, workshops and performances. Acknowledging that the group had evolved from its starting point as a Third World Theatre Forum, Ghoshal says: "We can't do drawing room comedies... but apart from that, anything goes!" Mareech, The Legend, also weaves in heated debates between young Americans on the Iraq war. This two-hour play will be staged at Ranga Shankara on February 25, 26, 27. Tickets are available at the venue, Sankar's Book Stall and K.C. Das.

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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