The organizers use only bamboo and straw to build the stage and the sitting arrangements for the spectators

Guwahati: The 13th edition of the ‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival will start from December 15 for three days at Badungduppa Kalakendra at Rampur in lower Assam’s Goalpara district.

This unique theatre festival is held every year in the middle of the Sal tree plantation. It is organized completely under natural settings – with no artificial devices, not even a microphone to enhance the voice of the actors.

The organizers use only bamboo and straw to build the stage and the sitting arrangements for the spectators.

Altogether seven plays will be staged in the three-day festival this year. One play is from Sri Lanka while the rest are from different parts of India.

“We are thrilled to bring back the next edition of ‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival. The love and affection given to us by the theatre lovers of the region made us believe that we can continue presenting some of the best plays in the lap of nature. Do join us as we continue the revolution started by our founder Sukracharjya Rabha,” said managing director Madan Rabha.

The plays are – Rishi Jolongka in Rabha language from Goalpara, Alor Gaan (Song of Light) in Bengali and Marathi from Maharashtra, My Sweet Rotten Heritance in English from Sri Lanka, Atho Hidimba Kotha in Bengali from West Bengal, Erendira’s Metamorphosis in Assamese from Guwahati, Jhalkari in Hindi from Mumbai and Pancho No Vesh in Gujarati/Hindi from Ahmedabad.

In some of the previous editions, theatre groups from South Korea, Brazil, Poland and neighbouring Bangladesh also participated.

Spearheading the avant-garde movement of “Hygiene Theatre” since its inception, Late Sukracharjya Rabha, one of the widely respected theatre personalities of the region, organised the theatre festival in the midst of nature to spread the message of the importance of co-existing with nature establishing a symbiotic relationship.

Started in 2008, the festival seeks to experiment and inaugurate a new idiom of performance with a special focus on redefining reality through self-realization by inversion of the colonial ‘self/other’ binary avoiding the tradition of imitating the ‘other’. Late Rabha and his theatre group Badungduppa Kalakendra earned international acknowledgment for the open-air theatre festival, ‘Under the Sal Tree’.

Sukracharjya Rabha passed away in 2018.

This year, the festival is supported by the Chief Minister of Assam, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, Indian Oil Limited Corporation and Bongaigaon Refinery.

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