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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Arts & Entertainment

Int’l French Theatre Festival ends on a positive note

Fame School of Theatre staged the play “George Dandin” at the closing programme. Photo: Mumit M

The weeklong International French Drama Festival '09, held at the National Theatre Stage of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, ended with a promise to come back next year on a grander scale. On April 19, at the closing ceremony of the festival, the organisers expressed the hope to make the festival an annual event, as this year's success with more than 3000 audiences, inspired them.

Professor Sayeed Ahmed was present as the chief guest. Ramendu Majumder, president of ITI International; Kamal Lohani, director general of BSA; Patrick Branco, head of the mission, Embassy of France in Bangladesh; Saliha Lefevre, director of Alliance Française de Dhaka and Jaques Bounin, deputy director of Alliance Française de Dhaka were also present at the closing ceremony.

"The idea for this festival was introduced to us by the Fame school of Theatre, Chittagong. This is the second festival jointly organised by Fame, Natukey Theatre and Alliance Française and it has been a tremendous success. Bangladeshi theatre enthusiasts have shown their keen interest in French plays, so the festival will certainly go on," said Saliha Lefevre, director of Alliance Française de Dhaka. She also mentioned that any interested theatre troupe could participate at the next year's festival.

Among the participating plays, awards for best play, best director and best actor (male and female) were announced at the closing programme. "Romeo et Jeannette," a production by Indian theatre troupe Kalyani Kalamandalam was awarded the best play while Ashim Das for the play "George Dandin" won the best director award. Anupam and Ankhi won the best actor and actress awards respectively.

Prior to the closing programme, the play "George Dandin" -- written by the famous French playwright Moliére -- was staged by Fame School of Theatre. The play has been translated by Arup Rudra and Chinmoy Guha and directed by Ashim Das. The satire cunningly ridicules the snobbery of the aristocrats and the foolish aspirations of the nouveau rich.

George, a poor, self-made man marries a woman from an aristocratic family to change his fortune. While his pride is hurt when he finds the in-laws looking down on him, his wife brings in the final disaster by betraying him. Moreover, with the help of her lover and the servant, she cleverly outwits her cuckolded husband's attempts to expose her affair with hilarious consequences. Unable to bear the situation where either way he is a loser, George commits suicide pointing his accusing finger to the hypocrisy of the aristocratic values. Ankhi, the best actress of the festival, won her prize for portraying George's unfaithful wife in this play.

National Professor Kabir Chowdhury, Professor Sayeed Ahmed and the late Professor Zia Haider were honoured on the sixth day of the festival for heir contribution to the Bangla literature and theatre.

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