Archives for posts with tag: Maraz Ahmed

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!


When you need a clone, eh? When you need to get to all the magical plays and dramas, seminars and buzz around the Season of Bangla Drama. Facebook tells me what I’ve missed and I can tell myself what to look forward to. “Bonbibi” at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road went down a treat. Well done everyone.

Tonight I shall go to the Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel E1 to enjoy first of all the exhibition “Retrospective” a display journal of the lead up to the festival of Bangla arts.  Always good to see how it’s done but also to enjoy another visual feast. Maraz Ahmed curated that with students from “Hands on Fashion” learning from him.

I’ll be in it to see “Hey Mahajibon-The Great Life”  and my friend, a lover of Tagore, will be with me. The director for tonight’s plays is Dr Ananda Gupta. Looking forward to performances full of music and drama and deep considerations about Buddha, mercy and forgiveness.

Again tomorrow I shall be in Whitechapel,  at the Idea Store for the Writeidea Festival  for some discussion with Owen Jones, a sell-out afternoon. Mercy and forgiveness are not on the agenda.

It was night-time at 2.30pm today; so dull and cold and yuk but as ever Whitechapel was buzzing. All the mums were out with their buggies and their other children hanging on to the pram handles. The market stalls were busy. The beautiful textiles were shaking in the bitter wind. Business as usual.

Brady Arts Centre is always ready with warmth and a welcome.

Today it was busier than ever with  Maraz Ahmed  putting up the exhibition “A Retrospective- A Season of Bangla Drama”   almost single-handedly. I was invited into the auditorium to peek at the ongoing rehearsal for The Movement Theatre’s production tonight directed by Dr. Mukid Choudhury. It was a magical shot in the dark literally because the colours of the lighting and the costumes are awesome and the professionalism and dedication of the performers, all moving, were evident,  as it should be.

Tickets were sold out early. I love the strictness about not allowing latecomers and hopefuls around. It’s an insult to the troupe when people rock up late and loud. The audience wants to stay in the realm of fantasy not be interrupted by shuffling people.

Next year I’m booking for first night at first whiff.

The trick is in the fantasies about to unfold in Hanbury Street E1 and the treat? obvious.

I was priveleged to get into the auditorium today. Thank you, Ruksana.