Plays are meant to be staged. At least that’s what a playwright expects when he or she writes a play. A play or drama finds its fullest expression through the interpretations of its director and the actors. So what good is it to publish a book of plays? Mostly people who produce, direct and act in plays are typically interested in the text of the play and hence would likely be interested in a book of plays. Although it is true that some non-theater people do love to read plays just as much as some like to read stories and novels, but isn’t such a group a minority? Is it worth publishing a book for such a limited audience? These were the questions I was grappling with before I decided to go for a publication of an anthology of my plays.
For quite some time, many of my friends and well wishers were pushing me to publish the collection. My mother was one of them. She thought that my plays would find a larger audience through this publication than they would from our limited number of productions. Several of my friends in different parts of the country also wanted to see my plays in print. I too thought that maybe I should offer my readers an unadulterated view of my plays. Whenever a play is staged, the audience is offered an interpretation of the text as made by the director and the actors. A play in print offers the reader to make his own interpretation – the reader becomes the director and the actor. The reader has the complete freedom to identify with the characters in his or her own way. As Edward Albee once said, it is better to read the play than to watch a bad production of it.
Then my mentor, Ashok Mukhopadhyay, also insisted that it is time to publish a collection through a reputable publisher. Although some of my plays have been published in theater magazines in Kolkata, he felt that a printed collection is a better form to reach out to the drama readers. Sensing my inhibition as a newcomer to the Kolkata theater world, he assured me, “Don’t worry! Your name is well known in the theater circles. Your book will not go unnoticed.” He then took me to his publisher Saptarshi Prakashan who in recent years have earned the distinction of one of the fastest growing publishers and have bagged quite a few awards like Sahitya Academy and Ananda Purashkar. And hence my first book of plays.
On 10th of August, 2010, the book was formally launched by Bibhas Chakraborty the noted theater personality at the Paschimbanga Bangla Academy in Kolkata (watch the attached video clip) in front of a large group of theater lovers of Kolkata. The book includes seven plays – Phera (The Return), Kaalsuddhi (The Redemption), Durghatana (Accident), Ron, Satyameva (Truth Only), Musical Chair and Taconic Parkway.
Now that the book is out in the market, it needs readers. Those who have seen my plays, and liked them, you may want to have a copy to revisit the plays once more. For those who have not seen them, this may be your chance to enjoy them in print. If you like the book, please spread the word. Let your friends and family know that a book of plays is out in print that tells the stories of our existence as immigrant Indians in our adopted homeland. And don’t forget to give me your feedback.
The book is available in USA at most online book stores and at alibris.com (click on the cover picture on the right sidebar). In Kolkata, the book is available at Saptarshi Prakashan (69 Sitaram Ghosh St, Kolkata 9; ph: 9830371467), Dey’s, Dey Book Store, Book Friend, Chakraborty and Chatterjee, Adi Nath Brothers, Naba Grantha Kutir, Lokenath Brothers, Balaka. Also available at Subarnarekha in Santinekatan, Prantor in Durgapur, Annapurna Book House in Balurghat, Books and New Central Book House in Siliguri.