Five Lords, Yet None are Protector and Timeless Tales: Two Plays
Author: Saoli Mitra
Translated by Rita Data, Ipshita Chanda, Moushumi Bhowmik
8185604495 | PB | pp. 224 | 2006 | Bhatkal and Sen
Five Lords, Yet None are Protector and Timeless Tales is a collection of two plays based on the Mahabaratha in the tradition of kathakatha, a rural Bengali genre of dramatised storytelling that uses live music.
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These two plays by Saoli Mitra, a veteran actress and dramaturge of the Bengali stage, are both based on the Mahabharata. The story of Draupadi is narrated in Five Lords. Married to the five royal Pandava brothers, she narrates her humiliation at the hands of the Kauravas, the cousins of her husbands and rivals for the throne. Timeless Tales, set within the Mahabharata, looks at the destruction of an age and civilisation. The tragedy of the royal women, Satyavati, Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, the abducted princesses; of Kunti Gandhari, Draupadi, Subhadra and the young Uttara, continues to be relevant today. Both the plays are one-woman performances in the tradition of kathakatha, a rural Bengali genre of dramatized storytelling, and use live music. The apparent naïveté of the single woman’s voice builds a relationship of collusion with the audience.
Subverting traditional Western theatre of the Western and gendering of the stories, Mitra’s plays test the audience’s views of decorum.
Bhatkal and Sen
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About the Contributors
The author combines the diverse roles of actor, director and playwright in her person. She received the Ibsen Centennial Award in January 2006.
Rita Datta is a teacher and an art critic. Ipshita Chanda is reader, department of comparative literature, Jadavpur University. Moushumi Bhowmik is a singer, researcher and a composer. Nabaneeta Dev Sen is a scholar and a writer; she was formerly Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University.
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