Drama fest marks Natrang’s 36th Foundation Day celebrations

Lalit Gupta
JAMMU, May 15: J&K State’s celebrated theatre group Natrang rolled out its 35th Foundation Day celebrations with a four-play theater festival which opened with the performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, at the Abhinav Theatre, here today.
Natrang, under its visionary founder director Padamshree Balwant Thakur, staged the first presentation on 15th May 1983. Since last 35, by performing novel and artistic plays in all major theatre festivals of the country, the Group has brought Jammu on the national theatre scene almost singlehandedly. The Group also has the credit of showcasing Dogri theatre as well as Sate’s representative art forms in countries like Russia, Germany, U.K., Singapore, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and UAE. Natrang which so far staged over 6175 shows of more than 300 globally acclaimed plays has made its mark as one of the most happening cultural organization of the country.
Today’s play, translated, designed and directed by young and talented Aarushi Thakur Rana, the well-known Shakespearean romantic comedy included the elements common to Elizabethan romantic comedy like devices of mistaken identity, separated twins, and gender-crossing disguise. Its plot revolving around overcoming obstacles to “true” love, opened with Duke Orsino attempts to woo Countess Olivia. The shipwrecked Viola disguised as a man takes on the name Cesario, and enters the Duke’s service. In the end, Viola and the Duke wed, and Olivia marries a man named Sebastian who is, in fact, Viola’s lost brother.
Highly enjoyed by the audience including chief guest Danesh Rana, Inspector General of Police, Armed, today’s performance was noticeable for its clever eclectic design that while retaining the essentials of the original plot, rendered to the play a desi flavour through introduction of a variety of dance sequences along with musical score of choicest songs from Bollywood films, and popular Punjabi and Dogri numbers. The addition of colloquial phrases and expressions added to the overall comic effect of the presentation.
All the members of the cast gave a well-orchestrated show. Especially the trio of jesters and the harlequin were impressive for their immaculate timing as well as the flexibility of body movements.  The cast included  Gauri Thakur- Viola,  Moses Marton-Sebastian, Goutam Sharma- Orsino, Vrinda Sharma- Olivia, Abhi Bargotra- Andrew, Gautam Kumar- Sir Tobey, Brijesh Avtar Sharma- Mario, Gopi Sharma- Fool, Mohit Kaul- Curio, Sunny Mujjoo- Captain, Sanket Bhagat-Kallu, Sushant Singh Charak- Tallu, Mahikshit Singh Langeh- Malvolio, Aadesh Dhar, Akash  Bhat, Aafaque, Shivam Dutta and Rahul Gupta as Guard 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The technical team included  Shivam Singh-lights, Bhisham Gupta- music, Ankush Lakhnotra-sets, Brijesh Avtar Sharma- Properties, Deepika B. Thakur-Costumes and Mahikshit Singh- Production Coordinator.
Tomorrow, on the second day of Natrang Theatre Festival, the play ‘Kasak’ will be presented under direction of Rahul Singh at 6 pm at Abhinav Theatre.