Tathagata Sen, a renowned economist, has been awarded a high civilian honour. He lives a retired life, alone, in the coastal town of Puri in his sprawling ancestral villa. Soumitra Basak, a young economist interviews the professor for his biography thereby leading us through a collage of the Professor’s past. Family members arrive apparently to celebrate the occasion of the professor’s achievement but their real intention is to sell the estate to a property developer. Complex family dynamics unfold as relationships and values are called into question, old and buried expectations and discontents surface. Through the interplay of the characters, we face the question of what is ‘artha’. Is it ‘meaning’ or ‘wealth’ or perhaps ‘meaning of wealth’? How will Professor Sen respond to the dilemma brewing so close to him?
Building Artho - Debasish Banerjee
It was on an August mid-morning last year that we embarked on the journey of staging the play ’Artho’, our first production. What a journey it has been. Our effort to stage the play led us through an experience in exploration – primarily, I believe, of our own selves. In each of us a passion for creation lies dormant, aching to be expressed. All of a sudden here was this vehicle to be utilised. We rushed to use it. Then over the next few months joy met pain as the project gradually laid down its own conditions to be fulfilled before it yielded to our efforts to make it successful. The various aspects of theatre – production, technical, economic considerations and performance coalesced into a challenge to help us battle our own limitations. But creativity won the day. It was a pleasure to watch the whole team stand shoulder to shoulder and device, times without number, novel solutions to keep the dream of getting our first production on to the stage alive. While the ground realities of putting up a theatre production were being tackled, the rehearsals provided the elixir to make all the effort worthwhile. Once again, it was a joy to watch the actors gradually morph into the characters in the play and thread it all together into moments of theatrical reality. Finally, the day arrived for our first performance. The light on the audience dimmed and the stage lights came on. And that evening, for the first time, we lived our dream in front of a full auditorium. I am immensely thankful to the audience that evening for travelling with us and expressing their appreciation in full measure at the end of it. They gave us the courage to go forward with our production and we planned the four upcoming shows of ‘Artho’. So, dear friends, here’s hoping to dream the dream once again – this time around with you.
The Nehru Centre
Cast & Credits