Mamunur Rashid (right) as Che in the play. Photo: STAR
To commemorate the approaching birth anniversary of the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara (on June 14), Bangla Theatre has organised the five-day "Che'r Cycle Theatre Festival." The festival kicked off on June 4 at the Studio Theatre, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Written by Mamunur Rashid and directed by Faiz Zahir, the play "Che'r Cycle" will be staged everyday at the festival along with brief recitation and musical programmes.
Director general of BSA, Kamal Lohani and eminent poet Nirmalendu Goon, along with noted theatre personality Mamunur Rashid inaugurated the festival on June 4. Nirmalendu Goon recited his poem "Che'r Cycle" at the event, which he wrote after watching Rashid's play. Talented singer-musician Shayan, whose endearing, lyric-centric songs have placed her in a distinct position in our contemporary musical arena, performed at the programme. Shayan performed two songs, including "Kotota path peroley" -- an adaptation of the famous Bob Dylan number "Blowin' in the wind." Shayan's performance has been included in the festival as well.
"People like Che existed in every era, in every society. Born in Argentina, Che transcended the geographical border and became synonymous of protest for the oppressed throughout the world. In this 'post-nationalist' era, we need another Che to fight globalisation. Our play places Che in our time where he moves forward upholding his flag of revolution to fight fundamentalism and oppression," said the playwright Mamunur Rashid. According to him, he was inspired to write the play after attending a theatre festival organised by the followers of Augusto Boal.
The play takes the audience to a surreal world, where Che on his way to a stage a revolution. Che is soon assimilated with another character, Ranjan. The play continually switches between times and places where the characters assimilate into each other. Mamunur Rashid, Chanchal Chowdhury and Rubli Chowdhury play all the roles in the production, each enacting more than one character. The play begins with three strangers on a beach, each with a unique interpretation of the world. With a sudden trance, they become Che, Aleida (Che's wife), and Che's comrade Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro. Through a deeper understanding of Che's life and philosophy, the three learn to see life in a new light.
Director Faiz Zahir has also designed the set, costumes and light for the play. Parimal Majumder and Habib Ahmed Sanjib have done the background music, while Bappaditya Majumdar is the production manager of the play.
The play has had several staging both in the country and abroad. This was the 41st staging of the play.