Arts and Entertainment

Reviving old glory with Biteka Kura

  • Pokhara’s new Gandharva Theatre seeks to revive the lake city’s storied theatre culture
- Timothy Aryal, Kathmandu

May 18, 2018-

The newly-opened theatre house in Pokhara, Gandharva Theatre based in Gairepatan, started its second staging on Thursday. Titled Biteka Kura, the new play is an adaptation of a short story written by the Darjeeling-based author Rup Narayan Singh; the play is conceptualised and directed by Pariwartan Karki, who is also the chairperson of Pokhara Theatre.

Biteka Kura is the second play that the Theatre has staged since its inception. For its debut production, the Theatre had staged Sirumarani, which was first staged at Mandala Theatre in Kathmandu, in September, 2015.

Set in Darjeeling, Biteka Kura, the short story, tells the story of a trafficked woman, her escape and her relationship with her own past and  lessons learnt.

Speaking to the Post about the play’s conception, director Karki said, “Among many stories that I have read so far, Biteka Kura is one that still haunts me. It encapsulates the time and lifestyle of Nepal back then, and also passes a powerful social commentary. So I had been plotting to dramatise it for a long time.”

The opening of the new theatre house in Pokhara, which used to be a hub for Nepali theatre in the 70s, is a much-awaited theatrical renaissance for the lake city.

“It’s bittersweet for us to start the new theatre,” director Pariwartan Karki shared. “Regarding theatre, Pokhara has an illustrious past, producing luminaries such as Saru Bhakta and Anup Baral. But in the last two decades, the theatrical activities in Pokhara came to a virtual standstill. In the meantime, we tried to revive it, even though we didn’t have a separate theatre house, we rented the hall from the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and staged plays such as Police ra Pyas, Mausam Harayeko Desh and Ek Rupaiyan, among others, therein.”

In the year 2011, a new theatre group was founded in Pokhara—the Panchamrit Natya Samuha—which started producing radio plays that were broadcast on local FM stations.

The effort to establish a separate theatre house in Pokhara started in 2013, when the Group realised that a new theatre house could be realised if they were to expand their theatrical activities. In the tail end of the year 2016, the foundation stone for the new theatre house—the now completed Gandharva Theatre—was laid.

Even though the new theatre has excited Pokhara theatre practitioners and aficionados, contends director Karki, the way forward is not easy. “We are concerned about how to sustain the current surge. The human resource is comparatively less than that of the Capital. But since there are plenty of actors and directors taking three-month long courses, we hope we will be able to build on their skills,” Karki said.

Biteka Kura marks the theatrical comeback for veteran actor Prakat Pangeni Shiva and also features the up and coming actors such as Dil Prasad Gurung, Dhurba Poudel, Babita Malla Thakuri, Prasuna Bhandari, Samjhana Sirpali, Sharad Bhandari, and Simran Poudel, among others. 

Biteka Kura will be staged every day (except for Mondays) at 5 pm with an additional show on Saturday at 1 pm, until June 2.

Published: 18-05-2018 08:56

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