My dad used to run a community centre: It wasn’t called that because the word “community” hadn’t entered common parlance by that time. But everyone knew where it was…”up the school”.  Unlike the Brady Arts and Community Centre which is easily missed.. My companion never made it to the Centre tonight from Whitechapel Station because the shopkeepers and street roamers had no idea where the building was. Of course it’s pitch black at 6pm. And consequently my friend missed the Tagore comedies.

Firstly the comedies, “Hasya Kawtuk”  were in Bengali and throughout the hour presentation of five comedies only two English words were uttered;  “station master”. Well, I’d been asked to blog about the experience and blog I would. Drama is universal, right?  I have never in my life had a front row seat specifically reserved for me. I was honoured and realised that the mayor who turned up in full regalia after the event has surely missed his opportunity to sit next to me in my absent friend’s reserved seat. Next time Lutfur.

Much of the comedy was in the puns and in the repetition of words. Over my head, of course but I was able to understand the body language  and believe me, the acting was superb. As was the dancing by two young confident girls. Added to all of that I was impressed as always by the singing and the sonorous beat of the drum. A popular song signified the beginning of a different sketch.

During the play, Rogeer Bondhu,  a backdrop showing archive rail journey scenes heightened the sense of time and place. Even a soundtrack was gripping and certainly transported us away from reality into Tagore’s fictional world. Really though I was unable to tell during which century all the scenes were set. In a European drama I can often guage the period by the clothes. The audience which included kiddies who should have been in bed enjoyed the production. I was irritated immensely by people behind me eating crisps and scratching like rats in their plastic bags . What could I do? I was at someone else’s party.

If I were working in a factory I’d have considered tonight as ‘workers’ playtime’  meaning it was light, a shared inclusive joke and an interlude on a cold Sunday full of laughter. All the seats were sold; full house. “A Season of Bangla Drama” is in its tenth year, on its eighth night and its  third weekend. On a roll.

The Charon Cultural Centre artistes entertained and illuminated us this evening. The organisation exists to appreciate and discuss Bengali literature on a monthly basis. Its director is Rubaiat Sharmin Jhara.

The posters and brochure designs for SOBD are by Maraz Ahmed  and tonight he was publicly acknowledged. I believe he loves Tagore.

I turned the corner into my road smelling the lovely fried chicken wings in the take-away and wondered and imagined  how I’d deal with a youth or a nutter jumping out of the alleyway. Believe me, the startled fox scared me silly such that I stamped rather than walked softly as is my wont in my effort to warn off Reynard. “Would my looks be marred by a fox’s claw marks and would I automatically get a tetanus jab?” Oh, the drama!