The 10th edition of ‘Under the Sal Tree’ concluded on December 22 with the play ‘Meenai’ at Rampur village in Goalpara district of Assam.
The unique theatre festival began on Saturday with ‘Kukuiraja’ by the artists of Badungduppa Kalakendra, the organizers of the festival.
The organizers use only bamboo and straw to build the stage and the sitting arrangements for the spectators inside a jungle under complete natural setting which makes the setup unique.
The festival was supposed to take place from December 15 but due to widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the festival had to be postponed and cut short to two days instead of its original schedule of three days.
“We could finally able to organize it braving all the challenges. Some groups could not make it. So, this time we are staging just three plays in two days instead of six plays in three days,” Madan Rabha, coordinator of the theatre festival told The News Mill.
Charandas Chor by Anup Hazarika from Guwahati was also staged on the inaugural day. On December 22, ‘Meenai’ by Ranabir Khoisnam was staged.
Groups from Bangladesh, West Bengal and Odisha could not attend the theatre festival due to the ongoing crisis across the country.
By organizing the plays in the lap of nature its founder Sukracharjya Rabha wanted to spread the message of how to co-exist with the nature without causing harm to it. “This is the campaign against global warming, the ever-increasing human-animal conflict and no against plastic,” said Rabha.
Theatre groups from Europe and Latin American countries too have participated in the festival in previous years.
The festival was started by Sukracharjya Rabha who was one of the widely respected theatre personalities of Assam in 2008. But the untimely demise of its founder Sukracharyja Rabha last year has put the organizers – Badungduppa Kalakendra through a difficult phase. This is the second edition without its founder.
It has gradually attained popularity among the theatre loving people.
“It’s always great to be here. I have never experienced anything like this before. Besides sending a strong message on the conservation of environment, everything is near perfect here. It’s well organized,” said Ankumani Das, an assistant professor of Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University who has been visiting the festival for the last three years.