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Laudable staging

BIBHUTI MISHRA

Two short plays voicing women's issues were staged by Natya Chetana as part of its anniversary celebrations.



PUPPET PLAY `Abhayabara' dealt with violence against women.

A leading theatre resource centre of the country, Natya Chetana presented two short plays, Abhayabara and Reboti, on the occasion of its 19th birthday celebration.

The plays were presented in the intimate theatre format so typical of Natya Chetana. In this the theatre group creates its own theatre space in the open, on rooftops or in a hall without the usual trappings of stage and the viewers feel intimate with the subject and the form.

The puppet play Abhayabara, written by Subodh and directed by Jayshree, deals with the topic of violence against women. A newly married girl confronts a drunkard husband on her wedding night and is forced to drink alcohol. She resists and when she finds her parents-in-law supporting her alcoholic husband she runs away from home and as she is given a chase she hides behind a tree. The play ends with the promise that she would return emboldened representing the resurgent woman of today who cannot be pushed to a corner, for, she has got the boon to be daring (ábhayabara).

The director did a good job of the puppetry, which showed little signs of amateurishness.

Natya Chetana has toured fifty villages so far with a puppet stage fixed on a truck and the play has drawn enthusiastic response from people everywhere.

The second play, Reboti, was directed by Sujata. The original story was written by Fakir Mohan Senapati considered the father of Oriya fiction. The story describes the trials and tribulations of the eponymous heroine as she faces heavy odds in her pursuit of education. The story advocates the women's right to education and ends on a positive note with an impassioned plea for women's education.

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