Schoolteacher Debadrita Bose had watched Theatre Formation Paribartak’s political satire, ‘Ekti Uttor Adhunik Samajik Pala’, six times already. Yet, that didn’t stop her and her husband from visiting Academy of Fine Arts on Thursday to watch her favourite play again the day the theatre reopened after a hiatus of seven months.
Debadrita wasn’t the only one. Academy’s occupancy has now been restricted to 270 to ensure a gap of five feet between two viewers. Some 120 theatre-lovers bought tickets for the opening show at Academy. This turnout far outnumbered the audience at the two single-screen and multiplex theatres in the city, which also reopened the same day with old and new film releases. Kallol Bose, joint secretary of the Academy, said, “Theatre is not just about entertainment. It is about reality. It involves the passion of people. The group donated the entire proceeds of the show to two ushers, a sound man and a curtain man. Sajal Pal, Prabir Das, Arunangshu Ghosh and Bapi Sarkar were given Rs 10,000 that was collected from the sale of tickets.”
Rehearsals for the performance began at 2pm. The auditorium was sanitized an hour before the show. Anyone, who entered, had to go for temperate checks. Hand sanitizers were also given. Academy’s canteen opened but a lot of the regular items from the menu were missing. Cups of tea, of course, were available.
It was through social media that Bose came to know about the reopening of the Academy. She had last watched Theatre Formation Paribartak’s ‘Titumir’ on February 14. “Everything has opened. So, why not theatre? I have a habit of watching one play a week. My husband does theatre. Digitally, I have also watched some fund-raising programmes on theatre. But that doesn’t match up to the experience of watching live performances. That’s why I came to watch this play yet again. It talks about the political reality of today and ends with hope for the next generation,” Debadrita said.