Staging talent

Staging talent

In the early part of the twentieth century, there was an American actress known for her outspokenness. Tallulah Bankhead, who worked in virtually every medium – stage, screen, radio and television – once proclaimed, "It’s one of the tragic ironies of the theatre that only one man in it can count on steady work – the night watchman." What she was referring to was the uncertainty that dogs the lives of theatre professionals, most of who land up in this vocation due to their love of stage. They often struggle to survive and, if lucky, manage to sustain themselves. Yet, the struggle does not deter budding stage professionals.

When it’s the question of Marathi stage our city rules. Thane has always been known to have a rich theatrical background. This culturally rich city boasts of having produced some the most respected film, TV and stage artists. According to Datta Ghosalkar, producer of the hit Marathi play Yada Kadachit, "About 40 per cent producers of Marathi stage are based out of Thane." It is this disproportionate share of the city that prompted like-minded theatre producers from Thane to come together to form a committee that would encourage budding artists and existing stage banners by providing them with a platform to display their ability and creativity. Thus was born the "Thane District Commercial Play Producers’ Committee." In all 38 stage producers are its members. Ashok Pulekar Patil of Omkar Arts, producer of popular Marathi plays, "Smile please" and "Shame to Shame" serves as the President of the committee while Ghosalkar is the Secretary.
 
The main purpose of the committee is to help theatre professionals – actors, musicians, writers and all others who provide technical support. The committee also intends to organise talent competitions for school children in the area of acting, singing, writing, one act plays and so on.

From their very first effort, the committee seems to be enjoying tremendous support. A few weeks back, when they announced a short play competition for theatre professionals from Thane, our sporting artists urged the committee to throw open the competition to participants from across Maharashtra as they felt that this would make the contest fair and they would know there they stand in the world of Marathi theatre.

The first round of the short play competition (Ekanki Spardha) held in New English High School had as many as 44 teams participating from all over the state. 12 teams qualified for the next round which was held in Kalyan and Vashi. Four teams made it to the finals:
 
1.  Mitra Sahyog, Thane
2.  Chirantan, Thane
3.  Evamika Theatre, Vashi
4.  Sahkar Nagar, Dadar

The finals are scheduled to be held on August 25, 2003 at the Gadkari Rangayatan.

Writer-Director of the ultimate Marathi comedy "All the Best" and playwright Anand Mahavaskar were on the judges’ panel. Apart from the honour, the winning play will be converted into a full length show and will be commercially produced and promoted by one of the producers of the committee.

Celebrated Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet Oscar Wilde once said, "The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life." The Play Producers’ Committee is helping get life back to into art.

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