Eight Days of Imagination
The Inter University Drama Festival
Theatre means indulging oneself into the figments of the powers of the mind, both physically and mentally, and one can enjoy the happiness of placing themselves center-stage and wait for the curtains to lift to display to the world the antics of a latent personality that co-exists with the character portrayed. In celebration of this art, Independent University Bangladesh, in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, organized the Inter University Drama Festival from April 12th to the 24th. The festival, which was in memorial of the celebrated dramatist and teacher, the magnanimous late Selim Al Deen, was inaugurated with a glamorous opening with a heartfelt speech by the playwright's widow, Begum Zadi Mehrunnessa. This was followed by an oration by the renowned theatre activist, Ramendra Majumder who was the chief guest of the ceremony. The President of Bangladesh Theatre, M. Hamid, was the special guest. Jahangirnagar University's depiction of Selim Al Deen's mythical allegory Shakuntala was preceded by speeches from Dr. G. M. Shahidul Alam, Chief Patron of IUB Theatre, Shafi Kamal, Director of Dramatics Department of Shilpakala Academy and Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam, Director General of Shilpakala Academy. The opening, apart from its hype and glamour, displayed an ample amount of flair amongst the performers of the play, which had a special connotation due to the event being held in memoriam of the extraordinary playwright.
The following days graced the stage with performances by East West University's comedic representation of Anton Chekov's Proposal, American International University Bangladesh's Kanjush, Bhoddonnok by University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, Independent University Bangladesh's All This Madness, the only English play in the festival under the awe-inspiring direction of Dr. G. M. Shahidul Alam, Yuzo Makamoto's sensational adaptation of the historical play Eksho Bosta Chaal by participants from Shilpakala Academy and directed by Golam Sarwar, Deputy Director of Dramatics of the academy, Al Masud's illustration on social realism Padma Paarer Manush by Primeasia University, and on the final day, Independent University Bangladesh's stunning representation of a skit from Michael Madhushudhan Dutta's Buro Shaaliker Ghore Row directed by theatre activist and lecturer, Samina Lutfah.
The festival was sponsored by Jarwa House and co-sponsored by D'damas and SME Corporation. Radio Foorti endowed the events with constant coverage, and the designs of the vibrant posters, tickets and brochures were done by the skillful hands at Stamford University English
Department, and Team A1 was the voluntary organization. The festival also received coverage from television channels such as NTV, RTV, Ekushey TV and so forth. The pythonic impact of the festival would not have been possible without the full dedication and support of Badal Rai, Managing Director of Jarwa House, whose efforts into this venture had held hands and bonded the youth of this generation to the artistic exquisiteness that is theatre. Three other names that deserve the seats of honor are Hussainul Abedin Saimum, General Secretary of IUB Theatre, Maruf-ul-Haque, Treasurer and Abu Nayem Md. Sharif, President of IUB Theatre - three people who were the backbone, the heart and soul of the festival.
The uniqueness of the festival, as Dr. G. M. Shahidul Alam mentioned in his closing speech, was embedded in the fact that it influenced students from all walks of life to take an interest in theatre, not to mention that a good portion of the audience consisted of regular theatre-goers from outside the university circles. This is certainly an encouraging thought seeing as it is a step forward to the youth's artistic buildup. The closing day of the festival was an enchanting exhibition that ended with an awards presentation. Towhid Samad, Chairman of Independent University Bangladesh's Trustee Board, was the chief guest, and Dr. Bazlul Mobin Chowdhury, Vice Chancellor of Independent University Bangladesh was the special guest, and they captivated the audience with charming speeches. A special characteristic of the festival was its stimulating nature of team-work and commitment within and between the universities, and it is that union that spawned such a colossal experience. Ramendra Majumder pointed out an interesting fact about the festival in his speech that it is the first time in the thirty-six years of Bangladesh's history that a federation of theatre clubs within private universities was formed. It is an achingly satisfying achievement because the festival might very well be the foundation of an organized institution for theatre within students. The plays staged during the festival got the laughs, the right amount of emotion, and it is this very feature that will apply a delicate tether and build bridges between the splendor of drama and the minds of the people for years to come.