December 2000 – May 2001
Acknowledgements This special double issue of STQ', focusing on contemporary Bangla Group Theatre, has been 3 years in the making. Between the original conception and planning, and its final actualization, we have benefited from the contribution of innumerable persons, some of whom have even left and moved on in the interim. All persons who have worked for STQ on the matter in this issue have been acknowledged as 'assistants' on the contents page. Samik Bandyopadhyay has been closely involved with this issue, and with the larger Seagull project of documenting and disseminating theatre in Bengal, from the very beginning. His considerable knowledge, his insights and his close experience of the theatre scene have helped make this issue possible, and we thank him for his valuable inputs. At the final stage, Sudeshna Banerjee was entrusted with the responsibility of undertaking all the verification, annotation, and research necessary before the vast amount of material could appear in coherent published form. She adds a personal note of thanks here: I would like to acknowledge the help and support of all those wonderful people whom I have approached with requests for loaning a photograph or a rare periodical, identifying the actors/ actresses in a still, even checking the date of a production, all of whom have been ever so patient and obliging in helping me compile all those minute details. I had even taken the liberty of ringing some of them up at home at unearthly hours, trying to clear a doubt, or even cross-checking a reference. My thanks are due to all their family members, who have been kind enough to take a message from me, passed it on to them, and even taken the trouble of calling me up again and answering my queries. I have had the privilege of working with Sri Samik Bandyopadhyay on this issue, and learning so much about theatre-the things unsaid, the anecdotes that enliven and illuminate a point about a production, the theoretical debates that often do not surface. We are grateful to Sri Nripendra Saha, a former editor of the periodical Gandharva, and now of Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi, for providing stills from Bijan Bhattacharya's production of Debigarjan letting us reproduce material from a rare issue of Padapradeep (1956), the Tagore centenary issue of Gandharva,(1961), and from the bilingual monograph-album, Actor, Playwright, Director: Bijan Bhattacharya [Calcutta: Paschimbanga Natya Akademi, 1993]. We are grateful to Smt Bhadra Bose, who has allowed us to use some rare stills of the Anushilan Sampraday production of Ispat (including the one used on the cover) and to Sri Asit Bose, who has helped us identify the actors/actresses from the Shambhu Banerjee photographs. Smt Sova Sen allowed me to look through the contact positives of photographs taken by the Late Sri Shambhu Banerjee, now in the archives of the Utpal Dutt Foundation for International Theatre Studies, and choose some stills for this volume of STQ. We also take this opportunity to thank the family members of the Late Sri Banerjee. We acknowledge with gratitude all the help we have received from Sri Jiten Bose, one of the earliest members of Anushilan Sampraday and a charming raconteur who would quote from memory specific dialogues from the play as he identified all the actors/ actresses in the stills from Ispat, and gave us permission to reproduce stills from the 1960 Anushilan Sampraday production of Bisarjan in his personal collection. We thank Sri Meghnad Bhattacharya and all the members of Sayak, who have been extremely prompt in providing us with photographs and in answering all our queries. Sri Kumar Roy and the members of Bohurupee, Sri Bibhash Chakraborty, Sri Arun Mukherjee, Sri Ashok Mukherjee, Sri Jnanesh Mukherjee, Sri Manoj Mitra, Sri Koushik Sen, Sri Suman Mukherjee, Smt Ketaki Dutta, Smt Chitra Sen, have patiently answered my queries either in person or over the phone. We thank all of them. Sri Prakash Bhattacharya has been extremely cooperative and we thank him for providing the productional details of the play Shwet Santras. We thank Smt Chaitali Chakrabarty for providing us the year of birth and death of her mother, the Late Smt Shelly Pal. We thank Smt Pratibha Agrawal, Sri Debashis Roy Chowdhury, Smt Gitasree Dey and all the staff and research assistants at Natya Shodh Sansthan for patiently looking through the material in their archives and answering our queries. This is the first of several STQ issues dealing with theatre in Bengal, and there is still matter, gathered and commissioned over these years, that is pending publication in subsequent issues. We thank all contributors and interviewees for their patience and help in providing us with photographs and other related materials.
CONTENTS Acknowledgements Introduction Samik Bandyopadhyay Points of Consideration Colloquium One: The Directors Colloquium Two: Women in Group Theatre A Note on the Participants Notes on Persons referred to in the Texts New Releases from Seagull Book Download the complete issue here