Dhaka University produces Al Deen’s ChakaCultural Correspondent
The theatre department of Dhaka University will premiere Selim Al Deen’s popular play Chaka to celebrate Deen’s 64th birth anniversary on August 18 at the Natmondol of Dhaka University. Two other shows of the production will be staged on August 19 and 20 at the same venue.
This is for the first time that the department is producing a play by Deen, though academically students study Al Deen for their courses.
Director of the play Sudip Chakroborthy, who is also a teacher of the department, spoke to New Age about the production.
On selection of Chaka from many acclaimed plays by the trendsetter playwright Selim Al Deen, Sudip said, ‘Obviously there are many plays by Deen that are attractive, enticing and challenging for any director. But I chose Chaka because of its strong messages glorifying humanity’.
Set against the backdrop of the anti autocratic movement in the late 1980s in the country, Chaka features a tragic story. It begins with a corpse carried on a cart by a puller who has been assigned by government officials to deliver it to its relatives. But the address given to the cart puller is a vague one, and, being so, the puller fails to deliver the corpse. Finally he, along with two others, buries the corpse.
‘Under this morose story, the play vehemently questions and satirises the so-called concept of a welfare state’, explains the director.
‘The play was a popular production of Dhaka Theatre where seasoned actors of the troupe are performing. It is therefore a challenge for me’, says Sudip.
Sudip is very cautious regarding the production. He is also experimenting with the production to enhance its appeal on stage.
‘The play is in the Kotha-Natya form, developed by Deen, where kathoks (narrators) narrate the story of the play and enacts roles. The form also has the scope for input of songs and dances’, the director said.
‘I have incorporated Santal songs and doll dance in the play as I found them to be appropriate,’ he added.
The play will be staged on a circular stage with dry leaves spread out. Sudip intends to use traditional local instruments like dhol, banshi, mondira, kasha for background music.
Costume has been designed by Wahida Mollick Joly, music will be given by Nila Saha, set and light have been designed by Sudip Chakroborthy. Master degree students of the department including Rafique, Ifat, Mahjabin, Nusrat, Shusanta, Mahedi and Labony are performing in the play.
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