When theatre stalwarts like Prakash Belawadi and Girish Karnad come together, you know something special is in store. Rotary Avani, the month-long Ecology Festival at Bangalore International Centre, brings together art, history, culture and sustainability, through a series of talks and performances all the way till June 5. Next on the agenda is Girish Karnad's Boiled Beans on Toast, a gripping drama that celebrates the ordinary Bengalurean and his struggles. Directed by Prakash, another stalwart in the Bengaluru theatre circle, the show traces the city's transformation from Bangalore to Bengaluru, the conflict between the past and the emerging present as development destroys its once small-town image and the influx of a floating population, which has brought a hotch-potch of influences to local culture.
“Since 1975, there has been no year in my life in which I have not done something in theatre, whether it is make-up, lighting, sets, music, acting or direction. I am, essentially, a theatre person, an amateur theatre person. Occasionally, my work is good enough to travel and be showcased at festivals, but that is not usually the case. As a director, I always tend to work with a mix of newcomers as well as the longtime, loyal actors of our group, Centre for Film and Drama," says Prakash. The show itself has a varied collection of artistes who start out under a single roof and watch their lives unfold in new, different directions. As they become entangled in their new circumstances, they lose track of themselves. Their paths collide and veer off once more, all in Bengaluru city.
Post his recent stint as an actor with a professional theatre production, Counting and Cracking - Belvoir St Theatre at the Sydney and Adelaide festival and his work as director at Mysore Rangayana with an adaptation of Yashwant Chittal's novel 'Shikari' Prakash's theatre dreams are brighter than ever. "Now I want to do more professional theatre work. Even this production of Karnad's 'Boiled Beans on Toast' is a work in progress. I want to turn it into a professional show," he explains. While the show is not really focused on the environment itself it does talk about how profound change in the city ecology impacts the lives of a family, its friends and the economically backward - in a wide sweep of themes. Road widening, tree cutting, infrastructure development - all these problems resonate deeply with every Bengalurean. And there are the more universal hurdles, like love, loss and betrayal.
"The audience can expect an evening of fun, some reflection on what we want for our city and its people. Whose city is it, anyway," asks Prakash. Looking ahead, Prakash says he has some more acting, in movies and web series, in different languages and another play in Australia in 2020. "I am writing and directing a Kannada film, later this year and also working on a set of novels on Bangalore-Bengaluru."
What: Rotary Avani presents Girish Karnad's "Boiled Beans on Toast"
When: June 1 and June 2,
Where: Bangalore International Centre (BIC), 7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage