Tagore`s play `Raja` to go international

Kolkata: Featuring a team of Indian and British actors, Rabindranath Tagore`s popular play `Raja` will soon be released for an international audience in the form of audio recordings and stage productions.

To be produced and directed by veteran Tagore exponent Debashish Raychaudhuri, the international project will have British poet and translator William Radice playing the king and senior Indian actors in other roles.

Having made its debut in Kolkata last week, the English stage production of the political play, where citizens debate the nature of ideal governance, will travel to England and USA later in the year. Tagore had written an English version of the play entitled `The King of the Dark Chamber` which was published in 1914. He had also written a shorter version of `Raja` and called it `Arup-Ratan`.

Raychaudhuri`s production is a combination of all the three texts and is translated afresh. This is the first ever multi-media production of `Raja` which involves both video and live action. Besides Radice, other cast members include Rohini Raychaudhuri, Nivedita Bhattacharjee, Bobby Chakraborty and Sujoy P Chatterjee.

“Written as early as 1910, Tagore brings in the subject of democracy in this play. Interestingly, this is one of the earliest political plays where the citizens debate the nature of ideal governance,” said Radice, known for his translations of poems, stories, plays and songs of Tagore. Besides politics, the play also deals with a deeper philosophical theme that attempts to grapple with life itself that has to embrace the extremes of both happiness and suffering.

The first-ever audio recording of the English version of the play will soon be released for the international audience.

"Listening to a play is very popular in the West and since Tagore is underrated as a playwright we thought of having its audio version. It will be particularly for the UK, USA, Europe, Australia and other English-speaking areas of the world," Raychaudhuri told PTI.

A theatre-television director of several international projects on Tagore, he had also come up with the first ever audio CD of the play `Raja` in Bengali. In the last few years he has been collaborating with British, Italian and French theatre and music professionals in the production of a number of international operas in London, Delhi and Kolkata.