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Engaging Plays Provide An Immersive Experience For Boston Audiences

Shuchita Rao

Engaging Plays Provide an Immersive Experience for Boston Audiences

Hindi language adaptations of two plays written by famous playwrights, one a comedy and the other a tragedy, were presented by the Sharon, Mass based entertainment company, Bravo Arts on the afternoon of November 10 at Sharon Middle School, MA. Bravo Arts formed by theater enthusiasts whose mission is to become a community platform for producing, hosting and staging performing arts in the greater Boston area has staged two other successful theatre productions in the past couple years. 

The first play presented was based on a classic French play, L’Avare, written by the renowned French playwright Molière and directed by Smt. Jayashree Shahane.  Jayashree is an accomplished stage actor, theatre enthusiast and Hindustani vocalist  who has successfully cast local actors and involved Sharon residents as stage crew in her three directorial ventures thus far. It is credit worthy that over two dozen professionals with busy work schedules have been coming together year after year to participate in creative theatre productions led by Deepak Shahane, Div Prakash and Deepak Wadhwa.

Set in North India, the play “Makkhee Choos” centered around the conflict between a rich moneylender and his two children who devise a clever plot to divert their father’s attention from his desire to re-marry his son’s lover. The trusted family servant organizes the theft of the family’s wealth carefully hidden in the garden and then in the ending scene, much to the miserly father’s relief, returns the stolen money to him. The play reminded me of Epictetus’s saying “No living being is held by anything so strongly as by its own needs.” 

While every single actor played their role well, Kamal Suppal’s portrayal of the rich money-lender Seth Hazarimal was outstanding. Moilere’s character study of a miser was incisive to begin with and Kamal Suppal further impressed the viewers with his character portrayal, modulated dialog delivery and dramatic expressions. Supported by ten actors and fifteen crew members who created the sets, managed the light, sound and media, did the makeup and helped with the bright costumes and accessories, “Makkhee Choos” had commendable direction and made people in the audience laugh from the start to the finish. “I was blown away by the controlled acting” said attendee Pramila Thakkar about this play.

The second play “Rakt Phera” was a Hindi adaptation of  Federico García Lorca’s Bodas de Sangre’s Spanish play “Blood Wedding”.  It was directed by Mahesh Dattani, a renowned playwright, stage director, screenwriter and filmmaker who won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for his book “Final Solution and Other Plays”. Dattani’s play, “Dance Like a Man” has completed 600 performances to-date and Mango Soufflé, a film written and directed by him was adjudged best motion picture at the Barcelona Film Festival in 2003. Rakt Phera is Mahesh Dattani’s third directorial collaboration with New Jersey based “Indian Cultural Society (ICS) Theatre” group consisting of several professionals balancing their love for theatre along with full time occupations.

The colorful program notes were well designed and summarized the play as follows: “Rakt Phera, an adaptation, is set in the Rajasthan/Haryana border areas where honor is valued above life. The life and landscape of this region offer a rich canvas for this drama of passion, honor and betrayal. As in the original Spanish play, blood is a symbol of passion as much as it is of death and sacrifice. A marriage is arranged to bring lands and families together, overriding personal desire.” In a sudden turn of events, the bride escapes her own wedding to join her former lover. The bridegroom pursues a search for his wife and upon finding her with her lover, a fight ensues between the two resulting in the two men murdering each other. 

Powerful acting, live folk music and dance, festive costumes, creative stage sets and lighting, the joyful enactment of a celebratory wedding scene followed by the enactment of a suspenseful search for the missing bride led the audience through a range of intense emotions and contributed to the success of the play. While all the actors did a great job, the acting by two young students Karizma Kishnani and Sonia Kurian won the hearts of members of the audience who stayed glued to their seats till the very end. “Rakt Phera was excellent even though it was a dark tragedy” said Ms. Bandopadhyaya, a concert attendee from Rhode Island. 

What made the presentation of two plays unique was the juxtaposition of a humorous comedy with a somber tragedy. The credit of transporting the audience through this sequence of conflicting emotions goes to the two directors, cast and crew of the two plays who worked very hard over several weeks. Families in Sharon hosted the stay of members of the ICS Theatre Company from East Brunswick, New Jersey and extended hospitality to the visiting artists. Congratulations to the members of the Bravo Arts and ICS Theatre Company. Boston audiences look forward to more of such win-win theatre collaborations in the future.

        “Makkhee Choos” Cast & Production Team

Keshav: Divya Prakash
Gauri: Seema Dixit
Chander: Rajit Kamal
Seth Hazarimal: Kamal Suppal
Ramcharan: Umesh Bhasin
Mohan: Umesh Bhasin
Mayawati: Lini Bhatia
Gampu: Varinder Gupta
Bhiku Seth: Deepak Wadhwa
Jangu Seth: Shirish Agnihotri
Mehak: Tulika Angaian
Set Development: Ajay Lodha, Balu Angaian, Deepak Shahane, Deepak Wadhwa, Divya Prakash, Raj Sakamuri, Sandeep Bhatia & Varinder Gupta
Light, Sound & Media: Srivishnu Piratla Sandeep Bhatia, Girish Badgi & Balu Angaian
Background Music: Deepak Shahane
Stage Managers: Ajay Lodha & Deepak Shahane
Food & Hospitality: Arti Bhasin, Bindu Wadhwa, Vandana Gupta & Ramani Sakamuri
Makeup: Surabhi Agnihotri & Sunita Sanan

“Rakt-Phera” Cast & Production Team

Mother:  Barkha Kishnani

Bridegroom: Shailendra Khurana

Neighbor / Maid: Lavanya Gopal

Mother-in-law / Death: Gayatri Desai

Wife: Puja Shourie

Laakhan: Sanjay Kripalani

1st Girl: Karizma Kishnani
2nd Girl / Youth: Sonia Kurian
Bride’s Father / Moon: Mazhar Sadikot
Bride: Debjani Banerjee
Relative / 1st Woodcutter: Khagesh Pathak
Relative / 2nd Woodcutter: Narendra Kishnani
Production / Stage Manager: Puja Daga
Asst. Stage Manager: Simran Chugani
Set & Props Manager: Sri Alathur
Song Lyrics:  Abhinav Grover
Aangan Raakh Bichaayee Lyrics: Aditya Datey
Music Composition: Vikram Kumar
Harmonium: Vikram Kumar
Dholak/Dafli: Aditya Datey
Cultural Consultant Puja Daga & Shailendra Khurana
Dance Choreography / Lights Puja Daga
Fight Sequence Choreography Samantha Mishinsky
Backstage Assistance:  Nainesh Desai
Supertitles (run by):  Vriti Bahirwani
Photography: Kamal Tawney
Ticketing:  Mazhar Sadikot
Costume and Tailoring:  Dahyabhai Darji
Marketing Design & Publicity: Debjani Banerjee, Gayatri Desai,
Sanjay Kripalani & Shailendra Khurana
Flyer Design: Shailendra Khurana
Playbill Design: Gayatri Desai

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