SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

The Class Conflict – Beder Meye Jusna – Bengali Jatra Pala/Rural Theatre

The Class Conflict – Beder Meye Jusna – Bengali Jatra Pala/Rural Theatre

Date: 7 December 2019Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 7 December 2019Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Performance

Standard: £10, Concession £5 (students with ID)

VIP: by invitation only

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Beder Meye Jusna as a jatra story continues to inspire generations as a cultural reserve, representing a continuum in class conflict. Remade in films, theatre, television soap operas, the script is a source of household entertainment since the days of undivided Bengal. This performance sees the original adapted, with a structural and philosophical deconstruction of the evolutionary art form and injected with modern and contemporary crises of modernity. The recreated Jatra is set with visceral live folk music and dazzling dance in a stunning theatrical setting, combined with acting, singing and recital of poetry.

The traditional storyline based on feudal society revolves around a snake charmer and his daughter, a prince, and a poisonous snake. The river nomads of Bangladesh known as Bedey, despite urbanisation hold the secret of a charming ritual. In the story, Jusna as a member of the historic clan was the chosen rescuer who could persuade a poisonous female snake called Kal Nagini to take her poison back by playing a special flute called Veen, as cure for the snake bitten and dying prince. The local King promises Jusna whatever her heart desires, if she can save his son. The concluding acts revolve around the consequences of an empty regal promise of reward. The Prince and the Bedey daughter were in love, while the King baulked at such a prospect. Class triumphs over morality leading to an unresolved conflict that finally gave into persuasion. The class conflict implicit in marriage consent continues to be a disruptive social feature in Bengal and Bangladesh, holding its sway like the power of other contentious myths and rituals. Boyati (storyteller) Kaysher’s narrative deconstructs the binding feature of this epic story by weaving in provocative acts of modernity.

Introduction is by Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SOAS).

This musical is adapted and directed by Ahmed Kaysher and Vidushi Chandra Chakraborty; it features acclaimed dancer and actor Sonia Sultana as the daughter of snake charmer, folk dancer Sohel Ahmed as the prince, Kazi Nazrul Islam as the king, award-winning singer Jessy Barua as the female singer, Amalendu Podder and Amith Dey on the music arrangement, Piyas Barua on tabla. Other cast and stage management include Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, Shamim Shahan, Sarwar e Alam, Shaheen Mitul, Rahel Chowdhury, Luzan, Jabed Qadir, Abu Bakar, Anu Deb, Amar Baidya, Mouli Dhar and others.

Organiser: Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SSAI), Radha Raman Society (Production) and SAUDHA SOCIETY (UK)

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