‘My Saree’s Story- Amar Sarir Golopo’ and ‘Rapture’
On Thursday night I attended the opening night of ‘A Season of Bangla Drama.’ This unique drama festival promises to showcase the best new talent in theatre, dance and music in London’s East End, by using powerful performances, walks, talks and exhibitions. The festival started in 2003 in order to fill a gap in the market and exhibit the Bengali culture in the UK. It is now in its 13th year and will provide a platform for 16 productions over 16 nights.
The night began with ‘My Saree’s Story- Amar Sarir Golopo,’ which is a 7 minute theatrical performance that eloquently depicts the history of the Saree and the role and significance it plays in a Bengali woman’s life. Through a combination of story-telling, music and dance the piece illustrates how the colours and fabrics of a Saree represent moments, occasions, life changing events and traditions. Told from the viewpoint of a Saree, it is well written, researched and executed. Both poignant and informative ‘My Saree’s Story- Amar Sarir Golopo’ is an excellent piece of artistic expression.
The main event of the night was a theatrical performance called ‘Rapture,’ which was created by ‘A’ Team Arts and was showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Incorporating hip hop music and spoken word poetry ‘Rapture’ tells the story of a young Muslim woman called AJ who hides her true identity due to cultural and religious constraints. AJ writes rap lyrics and uses the art of poetry to discuss issues such as religion, radicalisation, politics and belonging but is afraid to perform them herself because of the conflicting messages and burdens of the different cultures around her. Instead she gets her best friend to perform her work as she tries to find a place between Islam and the world of hip-hop. The play focuses on hybridity, marginalisation and cultural conflict in the formation of identity. ‘Rapture’ reflects the very real issues faced by todays Muslims in the UK, while movingly narrating a tale of friendship, values, empowerment and self-belief.
‘A Season of Bangla Drama’ is definitely something to be excited about, not only because of the array of artistic expression and representation of the Bengali culture that it provides, but also because it gives a voice to a once silenced community.