In December 2003, Ethnomedia launched their first theatrical production, “Phera” (The Return), at the Bengali Drama Festival organized by Kallol of New Jersey. The play was an instant hit amongst the expatriate Bengali theater lovers and since then the play was staged at multiple cities across the US east coast and Canada, including the 2004 North America Bengali Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
The play deals with the eternal struggle which every immigrant in USA has to go through in order to balance between the strong attachment to their home land and the economic and social demands of life. The play has received rave reviews from the audience and the press. Read some of the comments and reviews at our website http://www.ethnomediallc.com/ .
I have had several requests from theater lovers all over for the video release of the play in some form. I did distribute few copies of a DVD recording to some very interested people. However, I thought a video release through YouTube may be a better idea and hence this posting. This particular recording was from one of our shows in Toronto, Canada. The recording does have several audio disturbances and the video quality also has suffered due to the multiple levels of compression that it went through. However, I hope, you will get some idea about the play. My only request would be, that you do not judge the play from the video and audio quality only.
I am never a fan of watching plays from video recordings and I generally discourage people to do so. However, this play was so much in demand, that I had to succumb to the pressure. Since we do not have any near term plans of reviving this play, I thought the video release would be the next best thing to do. If you like the play, please pass the link to others who may be interested. If some interested and serious theater group would like to produce the play, I will happily pass the script to them.
I am including below a brief synopsis of the play to help follow the video. You may skip this and watch the video and I hope you’ll still enjoy it as well.
Sukomol, the protagonist who lives and works in USA, suddenly, arrives at his home to the utmost surprise and joy of his parents Satyasadhan and Mrinmoyee and his sister Sikha. Later in the afternoon, Sukomol breaks to his would-be father-in law Ramapada and his mother that he has come back for good and would like to work in India or possibly set up a chemical plant in his hometown. Mrinmoyee is delighted at the prospect of her son staying back in India, but Ramapada rebukes him for his naivety and foolishness. Being a failed politician himself, Ramapada reminds Sukomol of how impossible it is to build anything in West Bengal with its business hostile political environment. At this moment comes Bibhas, Sukomol’s childhood friend and gives him hope by promising that he will make all arrangements to make Sukomol’s dream a reality with the help of the local member of the legislative assembly. However, in the very next scene in an interesting twist, Bibhas confides to Sukomol that all that he had said was pure bluff, just to settle a score with his political rival Ramapada. He advises Sukomol to go back to USA and even pleads to take him along. Sukomol gets another jolt when his fiancée Krishnaa makes it very clear that her only goal in life is to go to America, and if Sukomol decides to stay back in India, she’ll do it alone. However, the final blow comes when Sukomol overhears his father who almost breaks down at the possibility that the flow of dollars is about to stop. Satyasadhan, who himself is an immigrant from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), struggled all his life to take care of his family, his parents, his brothers and sisters. He never had the chance of enjoying the slightest of luxury. Now, with his son working in USA and with his regular dollar remittances, Satyasadhan has started to get used to the better things of life, the small luxuries like traveling in a rented car and having a luxury bathroom. He dreads at the possibility of losing his current life and going back to the days of hardship. Only, Mrinmoyee, the eternal mother, tries to defend her son’s decision to the last moment.