Love is a magical illusion, and a chance of encounter between two beloveds. Mayar Khela, the musical drama (Geetinatya) by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, provides an unconventional take on this concept. Brilliant dancer, choreographer and Nrityaguru Warda Rihab's adaptation of the Geetinatya was stellar. She also donned a lead role of 'Pramada' in it. Dance artistes from Dhriti Nartanalay, founded by Warda, performed various roles in the dance drama.
Mayar Khela consists of the exchange of dialogues through melodies. Tagore cleverly mingled Italian opera styled music with Irish melodies in composition for the drama. Talented singer-composer Nirjher Chowdhury directed music for this particular rendition. National Socio-Cultural Association produced the dance drama, while Warda Rihab infused the pure Manipuri dance form with Kathak and Bharatnatyam styles in it. The production premiered April 12 at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
The story, essentially feminine in nature, had been made for the Ladies College and conceptualised in 1880s. It deals with two female and one male protagonist. Tagore explains that love is a maze of illusion that surrounds us. The world we see is a mere series of coincidences intertwined with time. For this, love is requited, enchantments comes with follies, while moments of departures becomes charming. Gurudev Tagore creates an unusual atmosphere of ecstasy with the dream maidens (Mayakumari) telling the story in chorus. They spin illusions in the minds of the protagonists.
Pramada sees love as an art, as pleasurable as possible while Shanta, donned by Farah Saowar, stands for sacrifice. Amar, enacted by Babrul Alam Chowdhury, faces monotony with Shanta, and swipes at the outer world wondering what more is in store for him, other than Shanta. Pramada rejects Amar, when Amar falls in love with her later.
Gradually, Amar gets back to Shanta, and what happens next emphasizes the mastery of Tagore. In the inevitable turn of events, Pramada seeks Amar, and the story takes an emotional twist. The maidens remain the narrators, they sing and seek love for happiness but happiness eludes them.
Hasan Ishtiaque Imran and Prantik Dev donned two other lead roles –'Kumar' and 'Ashok' – respectively in the production. Subah Akbar, Mahnaz Hossan, Nirjher Chowdhury, Jiban Chowdhury and Ashikur Rahman lent their voices to live songs lip-synced by the lead characters –Pramada, Shanta, Amar, Ashok and Kumar—respectively. With regard to incorporating three classical dance forms, novelty in costume designing and maintaining aesthetic aspects in all respects, Mayar Khela is uniquely entertaining.