Although theater has been the oldest form of performing art practiced throughout India, it has managed to grab attention of the current generation as well. The theater in Patna is as vibrant and varied as the city’s culture itself.
Kalidas Rangalaya and Premchand Rangshala can be termed as the hubs of theater activism of the Bihar. They are important theaters of Patna, where not only the theatrical activities take place but also the cultural functions of various organizations.
Amar Sharma, a theater lover (audience) from Nasriganj Patna says “our culture of theater in Patna is almost dying. Most of the people don’t even know about the rich culture of theater. It is one of the oldest forms of expressing one’s emotion”.
Though proscenium theatre is not originally from India, this form of art has thrived for centuries in our land of diversities.
Audiences need quality in performances so that theatre flourishes in Patna. Except for Bihari Thakur, known as a playwright son of Bihar and folk artist, there is no contemporary to take his place today.
Bihar folk should be staged that will promote the art, culture and heritage of Bihar. The major problems in theater are lack of discipline and punctuality due to which audience loses its interest. There should be ticket system for the play, so that the interested audience will come and the decorum of the theater will be maintained. Artists should be also paid, that will motivate them.
Satya Prakash senior theater artist from Premchand Rangshala who own a theater group named “Rang Umang” speaks that today the theater artists of Patna are facing lots of problems. We are still fighting for Paid performance. If you see the culture of other theater plays performed in Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal and Mumbai they have ticket system with professionalism.
There is no punctuality among people involved in the play, whether the sponsors, technicians or the artists. Even performers do not get time to set up the stage properly like if play is at 7:00 in the evening they get the stage at 2:00 in the afternoon. They do not have proper place for rehearsals. Even the condition of infrastructure is very bad. The ceiling of the stage of Premchand Rangshala is leaking; it is working with zero maintenance. The toilets are very dirty and without doors, they are always stinking. They do not have clean drinking water. Premchand Rangshala looks very beautiful from outside but there is nothing inside.
My question to those in the management of Premchand Rangshala theatre is that the government passes a big budget for proper maintenance and all things. The management charges Rs 5000 for a stage in a play each day then were does all the money go? Why don’t they spend money for the maintenance of the theatre?
In my opinion a ticket system for the audience should be there, with proper decorum, facilities,and punctuality so that people interested in plays can come and enjoy it. However the present condition is disappointing.
Nihal Kumar Dutta.