Guwahati, August 9: Noted theatre director, and activist Ms. Rabijita Gogoi delivered the 1st Sibesh Chandra Memorial Talk through a well-attended online event on 8 August where she had spoken about the Theatre of Resistance: Assamese Theatre and Traditional Forms. In the highly scholarly talk, Ms. Gogoi said that the contemporary theatre of Assam was in a very significant way influenced by the postcolonial Indian theatre movements like that of the Theatre of Roots movement, the Third Theatre movement, and others spearheaded by the pioneers like K.M. Pannikker of Kerala, B.V. Karanth of Karnataka and also Ratan Thiyam of Manipur as well as some of the major theatre activists like Badal Sircar and others.
She said that in Assam a new trend in the theatre of resistance had begun to go beyond the mainstream and in this, the late Sukrasajya Rabha was a pioneering figure who had invented a whole new language of theatre by radically transforming the very syntax of theatre. She said Rabha could revolutionize the concept of theatre space and performance protocols by bringing out theatre onto the natural enclosures of trees where the performance required no light or sound devices.
She also said that Assam had shown great potential through various innovative concepts of theatre like that of paddy field theatre, tree grove theatre, and the like. However, she also had mentioned that, unlike Manipur, in Assam, the Theater of Roots did not really take off because of different geo-cultural and political realities in the two states of the Northeast.
According to a press release by SCP Centre for Theatre and Performing Arts, Golakganj, Assam, the national level talk on the Theatre of Resistance and Assamese theatre was attended by eminent theatre scholars, translators, theatre researchers, writers, and academicians from Delhi University, Manipur University, Tripura University, NEHU and from other parts of the country. The lecture was organised by the Sibesh Chandra Prodhani Centre for Theatre and Performing Arts to commemorate the 34th death anniversary of the noted actor and theatre director from west Assam, the late Sibesh Chandra Prodhani.
In the beginning, Prof. Jyotirmoy Prodhani briefly spoke about the late Sibesh Chandra Prodhani and about his contributions as an actor and a theatre director. Priyam Sarkar, a granddaughter of the legendary folk singer Pratima Barua Pandey, sang the famous bhawaiya song of Pratima Barua Pandey when Dr. Namrata Pathak of North-Eastern Hill University moderated the programme.