The Park’s The Other Festival - 2005  
    Music. Dance. Drama. Art. You.  
    The Museum Theatre, Chennai 
    Dec 7, 2005  

    Onassis Awardee Manjula Padmanabhan's "Hidden fires".  Solo theatre performance by Rashi Bunny, New Delhi.  Directed by Arvind Gaur 
    'You say you're a lion, but your greatgrandmother,
    three generations ago, she was
    a deer - some one told us - and that makes
    you a deer! And thats your Hidden Fire. So
    we have got to put you out.'

    A woman confesses that her husband has 'stamped out' countless 'hidden fires' - human lives that are less than human to him, merely faceless threats to his own security.  

    A young woman anchoring a television program called 'now the truth' smiles her way dismissively through a stream of panic-stricken phone calls from viewers reporting violence in their neighborhoods, refusing to admit that the govt can be wrong in its insistence that the situation is under control.  

    And in 'Invocation,' the names of ordinary people are used to create a memorial to all those killed by violence through no fault of their own, innocent victims whose names, sometimes, have been the sole cause of their death.  

    Manjula Padmanabhan is a playwright, writer, illustrator and cartoonist. Her play 'Harvest' was awarded the Onassis International Cultural Prize for theatrical plays in 1997. "The monologues were written at the time of the Gujarat riots in 2002, with the intention of making a record of what was happening in Gujarat, but by the time I finished 'Invocation,' the last of 5 pieces, I realized it was pointless to tie them down to specific dates or personalities or govts."  

    Following her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1995 and after a brief stint at the Living Theatre Academy under Shi. E Alkazi, Rashi Bunny pursued her training in Theatre Arts and Design at the University of Alabama and Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA.

    On her return in 1998, she received the Young Artist scholarship and worked under Shyamanand Jalan in Calcutta and was part of many productions, like Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai and Char Sau Karod Bhullakar. "Nabh Taaron Se Khandit Pulkit" translated from an American Dark comedy, was her directorial debute at Padatik.

    As Founder Director of Banjara Theatre Group at IIT Kharagpur since 2001, she has designed and directed Dharamveer Bharti's 'Srishti ka Aakhiri admi', Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena's Bakri, Habib Tanveer's Gadhe and many open air productions like Daldal, Swaha-Swaha, Bandar Kaun, Girgit, Pahle Aap, Teen Apahij, Deewaren Kuchh Kehna Chahti hain, Haathi ki Po(n) etc.

    For the Children's Theatre Wing of Banjara, she has written and directed musicals like Veer Abhimani, Aazadi Muft Nahin, TunTun TunTun Tana Bana & Education gives Real Freedom. 

    Under the direction of Arvind Gaur, she has also acted in Mahesh Dattani's Tara & Final Solution, Vijay mishra's tatt Niranjana ,Swadesh Deepak's Court Martial, Munshi Premchand's Moteram ka Satyagrah & Rajesh Kumar's Me Gandhi Bolto for Asmita theatre group, New Delhi. She conducted Theatre Workshop at India Habitat Centre with Arvind Gaur.

    Recipient of Ruby Llyod Artistic and Academic Excellence Award and Best International Student scholarship award in USA, Rashi also received a special honour for her poetry book "Haiku: an Ode to Life" by All India Poetess Conference.

    Bhishma Sahani's Madhavi was her first Solo performance with arvind Gaur,after it she did Manjula Padmanabhan's Hidden Fires and Walking Through the rainbow. 

    Bhishma Sahani's MADHAVI , Solo by Rashi Bunny & directed by Arvind Gaur, received special award for best play in experimentaion with tradition at International Solo Theatre Festival Armenia. 

    Arvind Gaur who heads the Delhi , India based Theatre group ASMITA is committed to innovative and socially relevant theatre. Starting off as a journalist and working for sometime for the electronic media, he set up ASMITA and earned a reputation in theatre circle in Delhi and abroad.

    In the past 12 years, he has directed 48 major plays which include Girish Karnad's Tuglaq and Rakt Kalyan, Dharamveer Bharti's Andha Yug, Swadesh deepak's Court Martial, G P Deshpande's Antim Divas, Albert Camus' Caligula, Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions and Tara, Eugene O'neill 's Desire Under the Elms, Dario Fo's An
    Accidental death of an Anarchist, Dr.Narenda Mohan's Kalandar, Bertolt Brecht's Good Woman of Setzuan and Caucasian chalk circle, Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, John Octanasek's Romeo Juliet and the darkness, Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, Vijay tendulakr's Ghairam Kotwal, Munshi Premchand's Moteram ka Satyagrah, Ashok Lal's Ek Mamooli aadmi, Rajesh Kumar's Me Gandhi Bolto, Vijay Mishra's Tatt Niranjana, Doodnath Singh's Yama Gatha,
    Women in Black (written & acted by Bubbles Sabharwal) ,Untitled Solo by Lushin dubey, Uday Prakash's Warren Hastings ka Saand, Pinki Virani's Bitter Chocolate, (solo by lushin Dubey) & Bhishma Sahani's Madhavi & Manjula Padmanbhan' Hidden Fires (both solo by actress Rashi Bunny),Walking Through the Rainbow (joint production with PCVC, solo by Rashi Bunny)

    Director Arvind Gaur has collaborated with various Theatre artists and Groups specially in exploring a new language for Solo performances.the experimentation began with jaimini kumar srivastava in the Story of the Tiger of dario fo ,which ran successfully amidst mixed reactions for about 14 shows in 2000. His latest ventures include 'Women in Black' by Bubbles Sabharwal and "Untitled Solo" by Lushin Dubey in collaboration with THEATRE WORLD. Not only have these plays received great audience response from important metropolis of India, "Women in black" was invited to perform in Dubai and "Untitled Solo" was performed in Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC, Boston, Rochester , San francisco, Ohio, Harvard university & Stratford in USA and at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival last year.

    Arvind Gaur Has directed three solos - Bhishma sahani's" Madhavi ", Manjula Padmanabhan's "Hidden fires " & "Walking through the rainbow".

    Director's Note
    The riots of 1984, in Delhi, still float in my eyes. More than 20 years and yet the horror stays in my memory. And stirs me. The three monologues we are presenting now are not slogan based anti-violence propaganda plays. They are an attempt to establish a dialogue amongst people, a voluntary decision to initiate an intense, serious over-hauling to our mindsets.

    The play is not about highlighting communal harmony, or pointing the flows of the socio-political system, but it is aimed to be a reminder of the fact that - we all are humans, we all are on this earth together, we all share the same breath & same sky and the same aspirations for warmth and happiness.

    Let us be compassionate, let us be sensitive, let us be humane.

    Author's Note
    These monologues were written at the time of the Gujarat riots in 2002, I began with the intention of making a record of what was happening in Gujarat, but by the item I finished 'Invocations', the last of five pieces, I realized it was pointless to tie them down to specific dates or personalities or governments.

    The despair I felt in 2002 was no different to what I had felt during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 or while reading about the pogroms against the Jews in Hitler's Germany. There is a sameness about violent mobs that transends nations, communities, religions, politics. We go to war because of imagined differences between ourselves and our enemies but we are all much more the same than we are different. It was in the name of that sameness that I wrote these pieces. 


    What is The Other Festival?   
    • The Other Festival   • 2005