The agonies of war heroines | The Daily Star
12:10 AM, August 31, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:30 AM, August 31, 2013

The agonies of war heroines

Komola Collective stages Birangona: Brave Woman

Excellent use of light and shadow made “Birangona” a powerful production.  Photo: Ridwan Adid Rupon Excellent use of light and shadow made “Birangona” a powerful production. Photo: Ridwan Adid Rupon

Sometimes a presentation becomes so strong that it serves the purpose of a million words. That is what happened on the small stage of the Liberation War Museum on August 29 evening, when Komola Collective staged the R&D show of their latest production, “Birangona: Brave Woman.”
The show, depicting the life sketches of Birangonas or war heroines, dug up the story of sheer horror that scores of women had to go through, during nine months of the liberation war. One of the biggest strengths of the plot was presenting Birangonas as individuals rather than categorising them as war women. The play in a realistic way portrayed the life of the Birangona — her childhood, personal life, agony and the nightmares she passed through.
Powerful acting on the stage, along with realistic shadow-work and animation in the background accompanied by a multimedia documentary added life to the script to bring tears in the eyes of the Birangona women present during the performance. Excellent background scores and near-perfect lighting added on to create the atmosphere so that the audience felt the agonies of those women, who lost everything and endured unbearable physical and psychological torturefor the country.
The strongest part of the play was definitely the performance. Leesa Gazi excelled herself — a bold and natural performance did justice to the play. Since it was scripted is in English, it was a little difficult to assume whether those women, sitting in the front row understood anything. But the natural acting brought tears in their eyes; one of them even fell sick at the flashbacks of the horror being visualised in front of her eyes.
The play showed that Birangonas are women; they are our mothers, and many of them are also freedom fighters. The research and development show was not open for general audience, as the troupe will go through different experiments based on feedback from the selected audiences. The production will open in November and is intended to be staged in UK.
The play is scripted by Dr. Samina Lutfa, directed by Filiz Ozcan with concept and research by Leesa Gazi. Caitlin Abbott was in charge of stage design and animation, while Fahmida Islam did videography and Nasirul Haque Khokon was on lighting design.
“Birangona: Brave Women” is a powerful, natural production; no artificial or unnecessary distracted the audience at any point in the performance. These kinds of plays need to be done more and staged across different parts of the country so that Birangonas get their due honour and be recognised as freedom fighters. Komola Collective certainly deserves a tip of the hat for bringing forth the ignored part of history in the form of a piece of art.

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