Guwahati: The havoc wreaked by floods and erosion on the world`s largest inhabited river island Majuli and the inhuman conditions that people are forced to live in will form the theme of a play that will make its debut at the sixth edition of an annual drama festival next week.
The seven-day Brajanath Sarma Memorial Drama Festival, a brainchild of mathematician-dramatist Sitanath Lahkar, will begin on September 10 with the staging of ‘Phool Hoi Phuli Ase’, a play by Nalbari`s Pagla Peira Gusthee and directed by Dhruba Barman.
Samahar Natya Goshti, the amateur group founded by Lahkar with an aim to carry meaningful theatre to the masses 28 years ago, has chosen to perform its latest production ‘Junj’ (Fight) and ‘Bagho Bandee’ (The Tiger Captured).
‘Junj’ is about the worsening condition in Majuli every year due to floods. It showcases how common people survive in inhuman conditions during the floods, says Lahkar.
"Floods and erosion pose a grave threat to Majuli. And every year, the situation is going from bad to worse. The condition of the common people is pitiable. There is high level of corruption in various flood control measures," Lahkar told PTI.
The play will have special lighting effects to show how the gushing waters spare no one. "We have introduced special lighting techniques to show the muddy waters and submerged people," he says.
There are several poignant scenes which bring out the plight of the people.
"One of the scenes shows how starving members of a family eat the food given as custom to a man who died and his body is wading through the waters on a raft made of banana plants," Lahkar says.
Samahar Natya Goshti honours the father of modern Assamese theatre, Brajanath Sarma, by hosting the annual festival in his memory. The festival is held during this time as September 12 is Sarma`s birth anniversary and September 15, his death anniversary.
The other plays to be staged are ‘Ekhon Gaot Eta TV Aasil’ by Himangshu Prasad Das; ‘Shoraguri Sapori’ by Deepak Bora; Nitul Medhi`s ‘Oshtaa Cholor Baanhi’ and ‘Hototaai Hompod’ and Mumbai`s Angana theatre group`s ‘Kafan’, based on Munshi Premchand`s story.