An Interview with Bratya Basu

Bratya BasuBratya Basu is currently one of the brightest young playwright and director of the Bengali stage in Kolkata. He is in USA now, rehearsing and preparing his latest directorial venture covering the post independence era of modern Bengali theatre. The play will be staged at the 25th North America Bengali Conference on July 3rd, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, New York. I asked him few questions on how he conceived of this project and the challenges he faced in directing this show.

Sudipta: NABC 2005 is celebrating 200 years of Bengali theatre through three plays covering the period. You have written the script and directing one of the segments. What part of this vast canvas are you covering in your segment?

Bratya: I have tried to cover the post independence era of modern Bengali theatre, from 1950 to 2000. The play presents snippets from several plays covering this period including a play from Bangladesh. The plays are, “Raktakarabi”, “Raja Oedipous”, “Tiner Talowar”, “Sarater Megh”, “Chak Bhanga Modhu”, “Ebong Indrajit”, “Winkle Twinkle” and “Eersha”.

Sudipta: What was your criteria in selecting the play segments?

Bratya: I primarily used three criteria to select my play segments; (a) Plays that were important as contemporary theatre during its time, (b) it has a significant literary value, (c) and is still relevant to our society in its fundamental message.

Sudipta: What was your thought process in developing your segment?

Bratya: It was particularly challenging for me to figure out a method to develop the entire play such that it comes out as a whole entity, even when the segments themselves stand out as an individual theatrical unit. Of all the three plays, I am the only director who is working with actors from India as well as USA. I had to take special care to ensure that there exists proper synergy and balance between the segments acted by the different groups of actors and also to develop a relationship as a team. To work as a team they need to get familiarized with the acting style and patterns of each other, build the mutual trust that is absolutely essential in producting a theatre. Since many of the actors whom I am working with in this play are new to me, I was not sure whether I’ll be able to get what I want from them and stage a show where the proper balance is maintained. I am glad to say that I was able to achieve that.

Sudipta: What can the audience expect to see in this segment?

Bratya: Primarily, I expect the audience to experience the development and evolution of modern Bengali theatre. They will also exprience a modern theatrical approach and acting style that is rooted in Bengal but international in every sense.

Sudipta: Is this your first visit to North America Bengali Conference? If so, what is your expectation?

Bratya: Yes, this is my first NABC. My expectation is that I’d like to see that true cultural relationship and cultural exchange happen through this conference. I’d like to see that this conference bring to life the true international spirit of Bengali culture in all its glory.

An Interview with Ashok Mukhopadhyay

Ashoke Mukhopadhyay Ashok Mukhopadhyay, an eminent theatre personality from Kolkata, is visiting the United States to direct a play at the 25th North America Bengali Conference, to be held in New York during July 1 -4, 2005. I asked few questions to Askok-da (as I fondly call him) on how he approached towards developing this play.

Sudipta: NABC 2005 is celebrating 200 years of Bengali theatre through three plays covering the period. You have written the script and directing one of the segments. What part of this vast canvas are you covering in your segment?

Ashok: I have not actually written any script for my part of the production. I have selected scenes from some of the great plays written during the time-span and I am trying to link them with song-and-dance sequences to produce a theatrical collage. I am covering the period 1870 to 1944.

Sudipta: What was your criteria in selecting the play segments

Ashok: I selected scenes from some of the major plays by some of the major playwrights of the time. I wanted them to be various in appeal and approach ranging from the high satire of Buro Saliker Ghare Roa (Modhusudan) to the solemnly tragic note of Balidan (Girishchandra), from the comedic romanticism of Chirakumar Sabha (Rabindranath) to the musical rhythm of Alibaba (Khirodeprasad), and thus to the historicity of Chandragupta (Dwijendralal) to the garbed mythology of Karagar (Manmotho Roy) and finally reaching the agony and protest of Nabanna (1944).

Sudipta: What was your thought process in developing your segment?
Ashok: The basic thought grinding the selection of plays concerns the belief that theater provides the finest documentation of time and its flow. Theater intrinsically projects the truth about social transition, placing human beings and their values against the correct perspective. I hope our production of the play-pieces will provide a commentary on the theater of the time as also on the social milieu producing the theater.

Sudipta: Is this your first visit to North America Bengali Conference? If so, what is your expectation?
Ashok: This is my first visit to North America Bengali Conference. I am looking
forward to a great week-end when Bengali culture will shine proudly in America projecting the multi-dimensional character of this dear and glorious tradition of ours.

How to Receive RSS Feeds?

RSS Feed is a great way to receive news and information from a variety of websites directly on your desktop without having to search for them or visit their websites. News and information can be delivered through email or web sites, as plugins to your web browser, as well as stand-alone news readers and feed aggregators. This article will give you a brief overview of how to avail of this great piece of technology.

You must have seen those small orange ‘XML’ or ‘RSS’ buttons beginning to spread across some of your favourite web sites. Perhaps you have clicked on one out of curiosity, only to be faced with a barrage of angle brackets and undecipherable code. But once you click on that button – what do you do then? This article will show you exactly what to do. RSS? It’s actually “Really Simple, Stupid” or “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication.” But no matter what it’s called, RSS is a new way to publish information online.

The first thing to do of course is click that button. It may be an orange button with ‘XML’ or ‘RSS’ written across it; or you could see the word ‘Atom’; or, less commonly, it could be blue with maybe the initials ‘RDF’; or it could be a simple link with something like ‘Grab My Feed’ or just ‘RSS Feed’. Gets confusing, doesn’t it? But what the acronyms like XML and RSS actually stand for is less than important – what to do after clicking the button is the important bit.

After clicking the button, you will see all that code – if you have ever viewed the source code to a web page, it looks a little similar.

RSS is just another language of the web, but you can actually completely ignore the code itself, and only care about the end product. In the case of RSS, that end product is up to date news on the topics you are interested in.

For example, if you want to keep up to date with the latest information on financial markets, or growing marigolds, or your favourite “NY NJ Newsletter”, and you see a feed on that particular topic, you can ‘subscribe’ to it and receive messages via the feed, each time the publisher of the feed updates it.

So how do you ‘subscribe’ to an RSS feed? The important bit is what is in the browser address (or location) bar after clicking the feed button, i.e. the bit at the top of your browser window that usually starts with ‘http://…’ and tells you the web address of the page you are visiting. For this newsletter it is – http://ethnomediallc.com/wpress/index.php/feed/

After clicking the RSS (or XML, etc.) button, you need to copy that address – it’s that address that you need to ‘plug’ into what is generally known as a ‘news reader’.

News readers allow you to keep updated with the feeds that you are subscribed to. There are several to choose from – some involve downloading some software, some involve visiting a web site, some are free, and some require a small investment.

Once you have chosen a particular news reader, you simply take that address that you have copied, and, following the instructions provided with the news reader to subscribe to, or add a new feed, simply paste it in – the reader will take care of the rest, and keep you updated with your new feed. Once you have done it once, you will see just how simple it really is.

Here are some news readers you can choose from, in approximate order of recommendation under each category:
Browser-Based:

My Yahoo

BlogLines (http://www.bloglines.com)

AmphetaDesk (http://www.disobey.com/amphetadesk/)

NewsIsFree (http://www.newsisfree.com/)

Software For Windows: NewsGator (http://www.newsgator.com/) – integrates into Microsoft Outlook

FeedDemon (http://www.bradsoft.com/feeddemon/)

Awasu (http://www.awasu.com/)

SharpReader (http://www.sharpreader.net/)

FeedReader (http://www.feedreader.com/)

NewsWatcher (http://www.newswatcher.com/)

NewsRanker (http://egofile.com/newsranker/) – claims to learn from your news reading to prioritize the feed items you receive

Novobot (http://www.proggle.com/novobot/) – extracts headlines from feeds, and also web sites that you are interested in

Radio Userland (http://radio.userland.com/) – blogging tool with an integrated news aggregator

For FireFox browser you may use the active bookmark (click orange button on lower righthand corner) or download SAGE plugin. Thunderbird email client can also receive RSS feeds.

It’s useful to spend a few minutes researching some appropriate choices – once you’ve decided on one that you believe to be suitable, you can start picking up new feeds straight away. It’s Really So Simple, you won’t look back.

Learning Lines

Learning lines
All 9 messages in topic – view as tree

loobyloo May 24, 9:47 am show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: loobyloo – Find messages by this author
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 14:47:15 +0100
Local: Tues,May 24 2005 9:47 am
Subject: Learning lines
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Hello everybody

I’m an almost complete newbie to all this and I wanted to ask your advcie
about learning lines. This summer I’ll be performing a one man show in
Edinburgh and I need to learn a script that (with pauses and so on) will
last about 40 minutes. I know it’s not Hamlet, but it’s quite a lot for
someone who hasn’t tackled something like this before.

I wonder if anyone knows how more experienced actors go about doing this,
and what methods have proven effective for learning big chunks of text?


Cliff Laine, The Old Lard Factory, Lancaster http://www.loobynet.com
* remove any trace of rudeness before you reply *
—————————————————————————————-

Reply

Jim Beaver May 24, 1:06 pm show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: “Jim Beaver” – Find messages by this author
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 17:06:59 GMT
Local: Tues,May 24 2005 1:06 pm
Subject: Re: Learning lines
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“loobyloo” wrote in message

I’ve done several one-man shows of this length or longer. I just learn them
paragraph by paragraph: learn a line, learn the next one, learn them
together, add the next line, till you’ve got the first paragraph down cold.
Then start the next paragraph. Once you’ve got it down, go back and do both
paragraphs together, when you’ve got those two paragraphs down solid, start
paragraph three. Then you can either just keep adding paragraphs, or learn
each new one in conjunction with the previous one. Either method makes sure
that you learn each new paragraph as a connected part to the previous
paragraph, which helps you maintain the flow of thought. But at least once
or twice a day, run through the whole thing as far as you’ve learned it and
then read aloud the remainder. I’ve never had a very hard time learning a
long one-man show this way. Of course, the better the material, the easier
to memorize.

Jim Beaver

Reply

Christopher Jahn May 24, 6:50 pm show options

Also, it’s better to work on your lines while on your feet than sitting
down. You will be SPEAKING them while you’re moving around, after all.
It also keeps your blood pumping and prevents you from sloooowly fading
out.

A trick I have used for really difficult patches or when I have only a
short time to learn them; I transcribe the words from the script onto a
pad of paper in my own handwriting; this forces my brain to process the
words on a slightly deeper than simply reading them. Then copying the
transcription in your own hand forces you to translate your own
handwriting and re-process it as you write it out again. This can be
extremely effective.

This is how I learned a 5 page monologue in five hours for a production
in KEELY AND DU, when I was picked to be the understudy after the actor
injured himself during the matinee.


}:-) Christopher Jahn

{:-( http://home.comcast.net/~xjahn/Main.html

Ven Hawkins May 25, 3:17 pm show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: “Ven Hawkins” – Find messages by this author
Date: 25 May 2005 12:17:12 -0700
Local: Wed,May 25 2005 3:17 pm
Subject: Re: Learning lines
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I’ve used three methods:

Method One: Record all the lines on tape. Use a small recorder with a
pause button. When it comes your time to deliver a line hit the pause
button, say the line, then listen. Of course since you’re doing a one
man show, it will always be your turn to talk, so just take a chunk of
dialog at a time.

Method Two: Backwards. Memorize the last line. Then the previous
line, then the one before that. One each iteration go all the way to
the last line. This way, the lines you’re least familiar with are the
first ones you say. Do it in managable chucks. I don’t use this
method alone, I still use the tape when I’m driving or some other
activity that won’t allow me to use the script. I used this method
when I had two weeks to memorize lines for a 2 1/2 hour show in which I
played the lead character who was on stage the whole show.

Method Three: I don’t try to memorize them at all. This actually
works for me in some shows. We”ll have a week or two of blocking with
scripts in hand to take notes. I’ve found that quite often I’ll have
memorized the script without trying. It’s still a good idea to use the
tape method to reinforce your lines to avoid paraphrasing.

Good Luck!
Ven Hawkins

Reply

Cassiusw90s May 25, 9:19 pm show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: “Cassiusw90s” – Find messages by this author
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 01:19:57 GMT
Local: Wed,May 25 2005 9:19 pm
Subject: Re: Learning lines
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Cliff:
One suggestion, by which you can kill two birds with one stone, is this:

Go through your scenes a couple of times and break up the “lines” into units
of intention…that is “What does the character want?”, “How is he trying to
get it?”, “What obstacles are in his way?”.

Afterwards, take an hour a day..or more if possible.. and work through each
scene with an index card covering all your lines except the one you’re
currently on. As a result of the work above, you’ll have memorized stuff
without knowing it. And you’ll be memorizing the lines as part of
understanding ways in which your character is moving moment to moment
through the play..

It may sound pretentious, but, honestly, it works brilliantly.

Regards,

CassiusW90s

Jim Beaver May 25, 9:34 pm show options

I’ve found this method to work very well myself. And not just for
monologues.

Jim Beaver

Reply

Mark Cipra May 26, 6:50 am show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: “Mark Cipra” – Find messages by this author
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 06:50:26 -0400
Local: Thurs,May 26 2005 6:50 am
Subject: Re: Learning lines
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“Cassiusw90s” wrote in message

news:1v9le.14501$IX4.2961@twister.nyc.rr.com…

> Cliff:
> One suggestion, by which you can kill two birds with one stone, is this:
Go through your scenes a couple of times and break up the “lines” into units of intention…that is “What does the character want?”, “How is he trying to get it?”, “What obstacles are in his way?”.

I wouldn’t say this to a veteran, but since you say you’re a newbie …
This is very important advice. You’re not memorizing the multiplication
tables, you’re learning a role. The words arise out of wants, actions, etc.
It’s more akin to learning how to rebuild a carburator than memorizing the
phone book.

- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -

loobyloo May 28, 4:07 pm show options
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: loobyloo – Find messages by this author
Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 21:07:54 +0100
Local: Sat,May 28 2005 4:07 pm

Reply

NY/NJ Bengali Newsletter [June 03, 2005]

NY NJ Bengali Newsletter [June 3, 2005]

Dear Friends,

As we move towards summer, all eyes (I mean Bengali eyes) are looking towards Manhattan, New York with great expectations. The 25th North America Bengali Conference is gearing up to greet Bengalis from all parts of the world. Are you joining them?

Today’s events list includes two very specific events to be held at the NABC 2005, the classical music sessions and the literary seminars. Classical music and Literature are two very fond subjects of any Bengali intellectual. This year, however, the NABC committee has opened up the classical music event to non-regsitrants also who may be interested to listen to these wonderful musicians without having to register for the full conference. See you all in Manhattan on July 2nd to July 3rd.

Many of you have been sending me event listings as long attachments (even pdf files). It is vey difficult for me to extract the text info from those files.So here are your two options:

1. Send me a text file, similar to my email listing give, who, what, why, when, where, (and howmuch) information. I’ll cut and paste it to my email.

OR

2. Visit http://ethnomediallc.com/wpress, register yourself, log in and write in your announcement and mark it as a event category. You can post to other categories too like classified, reviews etc.

All my emails will refer to this site and my email will contain a summary of this entry too.
Please help me out.

Wish you all a very happy weekend.

Regards

Sudipta Bhawmik