As part of the ongoing Selim Al Deen Festival 2012, Dhaka Theatre staged the playwright's "Dhaboman", at the National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, on August 27.
"Dhaboman" is the sole Al Deen play at the festival. Shimul Yousuf has directed it.
While Al Deen's writings ranged from the aftermath of disastrous events like a tornado to a memoir on the Liberation War. Dhaka Theatre premiered the play a few months after Al Deen's death.
"Dhaboman" belongs to the post-colonial 'narrative' genre, but significantly deals with an indigenous community's beliefs and myths as well as features harmony among people of different religions.
Set in a village by the Someshwari River in the greater Mymensingh area, the play features a buffalo cub named Sohrab as its protagonist. In the Mandi culture, buffaloes are honoured as a manifestation of the divine.
In the play, it is apparent that Al Deen thought about human conscience and tried to see it through the eyes of the cub (Esha Yousuff). It is a little awkward to see a buffalo dealing with ethics and love but things become pretty clear when one learns that the indigenous community in that area consider a buffalo as an incarnation of the divine.
We see the cub thoughtful on his impending death as well as grateful to his master Nahbat (Shahiduzzaman Selim). His adopted brother Esak [Nahbat's differently abled son] is envious of the cub because the latter is adored by his parents.
Esak dreams that he will get well if his father sacrifices the cub. The buffalo breaks free and runs away. He is overwhelmed by the cruelty of his human kin who are his only inspiration to live.
Shimul Yousuf performed the role of Bibek (conscience). Among others, Chandan Chowdhury, Nasrin Nahar, Rosy Siddiqui, Sajjad Ahmed and Asaduzzaman Aman played the major roles.
The same day, Mahakal Natyasampraday staged "Nishimon Bisharjan", a play based on Tagore's "Bisharjan" by Anon Zaman. Ashik Rahman was the director of the play.
The play starts with Nishimon, a girl from northern Bangladesh, narrating her tragic story to the river Gomti. The cast includes Poly Biswas, Mir Zahid Hasan, Hasan Al Mamun, Bithun Ahmed and Arif Hossain. Apart from direction, Ashiq Rahman also designed the set, light and props.
After the staging of "Dhaboman", while the audience was leaving the Main Hall, Baul Shafi Mandal entertained them with some soulful Lalon songs.
Selim Al Deen Foundation and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has arranged the festival while Dhaka Theatre and Bangladesh Gram Theatre are assisting them.
Today, Indian troupe Naye Natua will stage two monodramas-- "Baroda Baroda" and "Kabye Ganey". Both the monodramas have been directed and performed by Gautam Haldar. Universal Theatre will stage biographical play "Mahatma" at the Experimental Theatre Hall.