Archives for posts with tag: season Bangla Drama

What a fabulous performance! Proper drama. Where else can you go to a community theatre and be welcomed by our events organiser? And who else provides free refreshments in the intermission? Brady Arts Centre is the place to be.

The stage was ready and ON TIME the performance began with vitality and gross swearing. We were off, comfortable on our benches, warm in the set’s lights and about to be entertained with excellent acting from everyone, poetry spoken very well, singing out of this world and touches of angst and humour peppered with colloquialisms, Streetspeke, wise old sayings and modern bang up to date observations of life. For example why couldn’t so and so eat ice-cream? Answer “Allergic”. Kebabs, Halal hot-dogs, Yorkshire puddings, Magnum ice-cream, fish fingers; all references to the multi-cultural society we find in Bangla Town and then some. A huge nod to the year 1971, the year Bangladesh was forced to form itself, reminders of  family and village back home, some quips about the position of the Bangladeshi woman, a band of angels, and all this on a simple, I mean simple stage.

I loved it despite it got pretty tedious towards the end and we feared the cliched ending with a predicted I told you so exposure of Mr Magnum’s (aka Manush the fallen angel or was he pushed? ) former earthy identity. We had an happy ending, that’s for sure.

I loved the energy, the quickly changing scenes, the voices and optimum use of the stage, the youthfulness, the daring, the risk-taking such as break dancing in front of an audience. Anything could go wrong.

The journey home was awkward as be warned the 254 bus does not travel along Whitechapel High Street until late December. The 25 buses were crazy; one after the other. I was sat next to an African whose mouth stank of the stockfish she’d gnawed last night. Who knows what she suffered to get to Mile End, east end.

There was no kick against authority in this Bangla Drama feast. Here was a play showing how a person must know her history to gain a certain sense of freedom. Demons have to be wrestled with.  In “Londonee”, a soul had to be saved, the soul of a “no good Londonee”. In that phrase alone all the despising of the Bangladeshis who settled around Aldgate with their muddled identities is raw. A Bangladeshi forsaking her family doesn’t please the gods when she embraces a foreign London life. Roots must be preserved.

The character Carl was great. What an actor!

The performance deserved the noisy clapping at the end. The audience never moved away immediately. The people were mesmerized and looked like they wanted more as if the fiver entry weren’t bargain enough.

Top night out.


Next Tuesday at ridiculous hour Film 4 is showing “Brick Lane”.  This is the 2007 film  of Monica Ali’s novel  starring Tannishtha Chatterjee as a Bangladeshi woman in an arranged marriage and her adventures in Brick Lane. When I saw the film about five years ago, it did nothing for me. So now I must look at it in another light.

Another film showing on Friday morning is “The Rochdale Pioneers” made in 2012. It’s set in 1844 and tells the story of working class people and solidarity.

Lots to see especially on Friday night at the Brady Arts Centre which hosts “Londonee”.

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!