Author: Saoli Mitra
Nabaneeta Dev Sen/
Translator(s)/Editor: Rita Dutta/Ipshita Chanda/Moushumi Bhowmik
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8185604495
Translated for the first time into English, these two plays by Saoli Mitra, a distinguished actor of the Bengali stage, are both based on the Mahabharata. Draupadi’s story is narrated in Five Lords, Yet None a Protector (Nathabati Ananthabat). Married to the five royal Pandav brothers, she is defenceless even in their presence, sexually humiliated by the Kauravs, her husbands’ cousins and rival claimants for the throne. In Timeless Tales (Katha Amritasaman), Mitra considers the awesome destruction of an age and the Tragedy of the royal women: Satyavati; Amba, Ambika and Ambalika who were abducted by Bhisma for his half brothers; Kunti, Gandhari, and Draupadi.
Both plays are one-woman performances in the tradition of kathakatha, a rural Bengali genre of dramatized storytelling that uses live music, some of it played by the narrator the kathathakurun. The apparent naivete of the single woman’s voice in the play builds up a relationship of collusion with the audience. Critically looking at the Mahabharata through a gender lens, Mitra throws a challenge to the audience.
Nabaneeta Dev Sen provides an incisive Foreword.
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
PLAY I FIVE LORDS, YET NONE A PROTECTOR
Translated by Rita Datta
PLAY II TIMELESS TALES
Translated by Ipshita Chanda and Moushumi Bhowmik
Krishna: An Enigma
An Imaginary Conversation with My Audience