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Show Must Go On: NSD Prepares For First Play Since Lockdown

Show Must Go On: NSD Prepares For First Play Since Lockdown

It will be a different spectacle at the National School of Drama (NSD) on October 2 when the stage will be set after a hiatus of six months and a mask-wearing audience will observe artistes performing a play on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The NSD will stage "Pehla Satyagrahi" to commemorate Gandhi's birth anniversary over three shows starting from October 2.

New Delhi: It will be a different spectacle at the National School of Drama (NSD) on October 2 when the stage will be set after a hiatus of six months and a mask-wearing audience will observe artistes performing a play on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The NSD will stage “Pehla Satyagrahi” to commemorate Gandhi’s birth anniversary over three shows starting from October 2.

“It is a pleasant feeling going back on stage after such a long time,” Suresh Sharma, Director-in-Charge, NSD, told PTI. However, since the spread of COVID-19 is still going strong there will be special arrangement as per the Ministry of Home Affairs’ guidelines, he added.

While only 100 viewers will be allowed every day, masks will be mandatory for the audience, hand sanitisers will be provided while entering the campus, and distant seating arrangement will be made. The artistes, in a first, will also maintain social distancing even on the stage, the size of which has been increased due to the unprecedented conditions. The days leading up to the big performance were also laid with a number of precautions.

“We started from Sept 8 for this play, calling in nine out of 18 artistes on alternate days for line reading, music and script rehearsals. Two days a week we rehearsed with the entire team keeping social distance. And the last two days we went on stage for the final rehearsal,” Sharma explained. The performance, which will be held at the campus lawn, will have a larger-than-usual stage to occupy the caste without putting them into close proximity with each other.

Earlier the NSD used a 27×30 ft stage but now a 32×48 ft stage has been constructed. Written by Ravindra Tripathy and directed by Sharma, the play will touch upon more personal aspects of Mahatma Gandhi’s life.

“There are so many things people are unaware of when it comes to Gandhi. We will focus on those parts, like when and why he chose to wear only a ‘dhoti’, the Gandhi before and after independence, when Mohan encountered the Mahatma. The play will touch upon such lesser known episodes of his life,” Sharma said. The show will be staged over the weekend, starting from October 2 and closing on October 4.

Talking about the future plans to continue theatrical productions, Sharma said a number of factors will have to be taken into consideration, including the audience’s willingness to come as well as the new guidelines for the Unlock 5.0 that are expected to be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday. “We are definitely looking forward to staging more plays. But it will be done on alternate weekends and depending on the new guidelines. We are hoping that this time we will be allowed indoor performances too, Sharma said.


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