Vol. 5 Num 279 Fri. March 11, 2005  

A play on women trafficking

International Women's Day (March 8) was an opportune time to reflect on where women stand today, their goals, aspirations and future directions. The day also saw theatre groups staging plays. Among them was the Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts (BITA). In association with American Centre, US Embassy the group staged two consecutive shows of Meenkanya on March 8 and 9 at the Experimental Theatre Stage.

Masum Reza's play Meenkanya is based on the trafficking of women, which is now one of the major problems of the world. Usually, such bold message- oriented productions are produced in an explicit manner, to create awareness amongst the audience. However, Masum's script has artistic value. It is the narrative of a wicked Kobial (rural bard), who deceives women by first marrying them and then selling them to different brothels in a neighbouring country.

Besides portraying the brutal women trafficking story, as the subplot of the play Masum has depicted the corruption at border areas of border guards, customs and police.

Director Pijush Bandopadhyay's approach is narrative. He has used some choreography to show sailing, rural games and rural art forms like jatra and palagaan. However, frequent changes of stagecraft distracted the audience. Sometimes it seemed that only narration and quality choreography were enough to picturise the events on the stage. And thus so much shifting of stagecraft could have been avoided.

Akbar Reza used a few stools on the empty stage as the set of the play. Asim Das's light design needed development and most of the time he missed the acting cues.

Bappa Chowdhury as Alal Sardar was impressive. Akbar Reza as Dadam Malitha, Sumit Datta as pagal (insane) and Deepta Rokshit as Churi Buri performed well on the show staged on March 9. Kankan Das as Jotsna needs to hone her theatrical skills.

Jayasri Kaar Joya (R) with co-artist in the play Meenkanya