Vol. 5 Num 994 Sun. March 18, 2007  

National Theatre Festival '07
'Sonar Boron Koinna': An adaptation of 'Mahuya'

Mohuya is one of the most popular palas included in the Maimansingha Geetika, a collection of folk ballads from the greater Mymensingh region. Many renowned folklore experts consider Dwigo Kanai's ballad Mohuya as a world classic.

The ballad is a love story of a gypsy girl Mahuya and the son of a zamindar, Noiddar Chand, which has a tragic end: The duo commits suicide because of social conflicts arising out of several aspects of love.

Deepak Roy has adapted Sonar Boron Koinna from Mohua. Roy's adaptation deserves plaudits, as he has maintained the authenticity of the original ballad. Even the dialogues of the play are lyrical.

However, the presentation of the play did not live up to the expectation of the audience. The impact of these types of mediocre productions on the rich heritage can be analysed from a quotation of renowned American artistic designer Richard Schechner. He was the keynote speaker of a three-day international seminar titled "Theatre in Turmoil" arranged by National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi, India.

The keynote paper reads that the theatre activists themselves are creating turmoil while making efforts to apply the traditional performing art forms in theatre. He wants the traditional forms to be preserved, and even better, to be used. But as a number of attempts have shown, to "use" a traditional form is often to distort it, to yank it out of its historical and social circumstance, or to practice it in an amateurish way.

Reflecting Scechner's observation one can safely say that under Deepak Roy's direction, the unskilful presentation of the classic is harmful for the rich heritage of palagaan. Only in the scene when Mahuya meets Noiddar Chand besides the river, the directorial compositions appeared natural.

On March 16, Theatre (Topkhana) staged Sonar Boron Koinna at the Experimental Theatre Stage as part of the National Theatre Festival arranged by Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

Actors perform in Sonar Boron Koinna. PHOTO: STAR