NCPA Centrestage 2017 Presents The Festival Of Premiering Plays

Centrestage – Mumbai’s pre-eminent theatre festival returns to The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) from 25th November to 3rd December 2017. In its eighth edition now, the festival brings playwrights and actors from a diverse stream of backgrounds and languages.

Centrestage is a treat for theatre lovers with a line-up of 9 curated premiering plays across varied issues and subjects. The festival showcases work of Ila Arun, Kaizad Gustad, Meher Mistry, Pritesh Sodha, Isheeta Ganguly, Anuvab Pal and more.

NCPA Spokesperson said, “Centrestage is a treat for theatre lovers and a tailor made opportunity to discover and harness budding talent across the country. Our curated mix of plays means there is a performance to please even the most discerning audience member with a melange of genres in three different languages. The fact that the festival has been running annually since 2010 is a testament to its success and popularity.”

Setting off the festival is Less Than Zero, where the protagonist Zero, is attempting to end his life. He wears his hat to keep the sky from falling on his head. Two angels arrive to reason with him. The play is written and directed by Kaizad Gustad. A dark satire on the state of being – in Gibberish and English guaranteed to enthrall audiences.

Shabd – Leela, a hindi play directed by K.K. Raina and adapted by Ila Arun will showcase a dramatic reading of Dr. Dharamveer Bharti’s powerful and romantic words in “Kanupriya”, “Andha Yug” and love letters written to his wife “Ek Sahityik ke prem patra”. The cast includes Rajeshwari Sachdev, Varun Badola, Rahul Bagga and Abhishek Pandey.

Another interesting and off-beat selection is I, Cloud – written and directed by Ulka Mayur which is an english / hindi play that uses the story of Kalidas’s Meghdoot (Cloud Messenger) twisting it around for the contemporary audience. When a poet is jailed for writing an antifundamentalist poem, he hails ‘icloud’ – the new age guru and messenger, to take his banned poem on social media and ‘make it rain’ – virtual and hopefully, viral.  I, Cloud raises important social issues such as the right to individual freedom and the unwritten but extremely dominant boundaries of social media. 

Ladies don’t miss, Sundays with Chitra & Chaitali – an english play, written, directed & songs by Isheeta Ganguly. Special music feature by Pritam and opening narration by Ira Dubey. The dramatic comedy is inspired by Tagore’s Chitra from Chitrangada as well as Chitra from Mahabharata, redefined by Isheeta Ganguly in 2017.

For the Gujarati theatre lovers there are two great treats, Bawra Mann, a Gujarati play presenting a dramatic, thoughtful, hilarious look at love. It is written by Prayag Dave & Purvi Gogri and directed by Mihir Rajda.

Dr. Anandibai – Like, Comment, Share,  the second Guajarati offering based on a true story of India’s first lady doctor, way back in the 19th century, who died at the age of 22. Directed by Manoj Shah, the play embarks on a journey through her life, her struggle, and achievements and discovers if things have really and dramatically changed for women in last 150 years.  Inspite of their multifarious achievements, women today still struggle to prove their worth. Perhaps Anandibai Joshi’s amazing life story will put the entire thing into perspective!

The festival will take forward The Empire Podcast- Britain and India, A Love story or a Crime Thriller?  The live international podcast by Andy Zaltsman of the globally famous British comedy podcast – The Bugle which he started with John Oliver, (Last Week Tonight) will be bringing, for the first time ever, as part of NCPA CenterStage, The Bugle to Mumbai via teleconference talking to Indian comedians and podcasters Anuvab Pal and Daniel Fernandes. You don’t want to miss the night of the UK and Mumbai on one stage for a comedy podcast explosion!

The festival will also showcase a Gujarati monologue – Mara Asatya Na Prayogo: My Experiments with Lies – directed by Pritesh Sodha. Living in the great city of Ahmedabad our ‘Ranglo’ (narrator) uses his humour, music and satire to unearth the fact that, today in our country life is more comfortable and peaceful under the blanket of a lie.

NCPA CentreStage will conclude with the most awaited production for Shakespeare fans – Lucrece, an NCPA and The Shakespeare Edit Production.  Lucrece is a dramatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s 1594 narrative poem also known as ‘The Rape of Lucrece’. Extraordinary in its beauty and scope, it is also a very political play at the centre of current issues around assault and patriarchy.

Since its inception in 2010, NCPA Centrestage has been a path-breaker because of its unique and diverse format – one that allows and encourages both thespians and newcomers to perform on a common platform in a number of languages and styles.

The festival over the years has showcased plays which have subsequently travelled across the country to participate at various prestigious national and international festivals and win awards.