12th edition of META festival celebrates 10 exceptional productions

by Navneet Mendiratta
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Theatre is that powerful tool of social representation that does not hesitate to berate, rebuke or even laugh at the hypocritical weave that is so fiercely guarded by the custodians of the society. Since its inception, this medium has challenged the misrepresentations in the society and spoken out against the ills and prejudices that continue to plague the social set-up. In short, it is more than that tiny voice inside our head that continues to nudge our conscious in hope that awareness would bring about the much needed change around us.
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Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival is one festival that celebrates and felicitates the outstanding efforts in the regional and commercial theatre. This year brings the 12th edition of this festival in which 10 plays are being staged in the capital from March 4 to March 9 at Kamani Auditorium, Little Theatre Group (LTG) and Sri Ram Centre, namely, Lassanwala, Bhima, Elephant In The Room, The Outcaste, Kaali Naadakam, Dhumrapaan, Mahabharata, Awddyo Shesh Rajani, Katha Sukavi Suryamall ki and I don’t like it as you like it.
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Selected by a very discerning jury of eminent theatre practitioners namely, Arundhati Raja, Deepa Punjani, Deepan Sivaraman, Danish Husain and Debesh Chatterjee, these plays have been selected from among 300 entries that were submitted this year. The repertoire comprised of a fine selection of Bengali, Malayalam, Rajasthani, Kannada, Hindi and English language scripts.
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The festival is jointly promoted by the Mahindra Group as part of its cultural outreach, and entertainment company Teamwork Arts. As Sanjoy K Roy, MD, Teamwork Arts & Festival Producer puts it: “It is great to see the diversity and vibrancy that is reflective of contemporary theatre in India. From comedy to musicals, religious and socio-cultural issues to contemporary reinterpretations of India’s rich mythological texts, these productions bring alive the complexities that are representative of the subcontinent.”
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The 14 awards will be given on March 10 for the Best Play, Best Director, Lifetime Achievement award, Best Stage Design, Best Light Design, Best Innovative Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female), Best Original Script, Best Ensemble, Best Choreographer. Mahabharata and The Outcaste have received the maximum nominations from the selection committee and will compete across seven categories each.
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The META 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred upon veteran Marathi theatre exponent Arun Kakade, commonly known as ‘Kakade Kaka’, it was announced at a press conference earlier.
Directed by Anurupa Roy, Mahabharata uses life size shadow puppets with a lot of extensions. The scattered narrative has 13 characters who ponder over their role in the war. They are not heroes or villains, simply grey in colour and human.
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The Outcaste is the dramatization of an autobiographical account of Sharankumar Limbale that reflects the state of caste politics in India. The play brings to fore the Dalit inner quest for identity using original language, idiom, metaphor and imagery. 
While The Outcaste has already been staged, the theatre enthusiasts can catch Mahabharata at L.T.G auditorium at 6 pm today. The other play to be staged in the evening is Awddyo Shesh Rajani (8 pm at Shri Ram Centre). 
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Katha Sukavi Suryamall ki and I don’t like it as you like it would be staged at L.T.G and Kamani auditoriums respectively on March 9.

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