Aabaha organizes Art and Theater Festival
The city of Atlanta witnessed a celebration of cultural diversity and artistic expression at the Aabaha Art and Theater Festival held on August 4 and 5. The festival, which took place at “The Eagle @Sugar Hill” in Sugar Hill, Georgia, was a spectacular fusion of cultures, languages, and narratives, showcasing a vibrant tapestry of theatrical brilliance and creative flair. With performances in Bengali, Hindi, and English, the festival provided an immersive platform for attendees to engage in cross-cultural exchanges and meaning-ful conversations, transcending linguistic barriers.
[Left] A scene from “Darj Lamhe Khudkushi Ke.”
Curtain call from “Aadhe Adhure” presented by Dhoop Chaoon Theater Group of Atlanta.
The opening night was set ablaze by the heart-touching Hindi play “Aadhe Adhure,” presented by the Dhoop Chaoon Hindi Theater Group based in Atlanta. The following evening witnessed an emotionally- charged performance titled “Darj Lamhe Khudkushi Ke” by the Hindi Rangmanch Group from North Carolina, delving deep into the complexities of human emotions.
[Right] Ending scene from the play “Accident.”
The festival’s second day was a dynamic exploration of Bengali, Hindi, and English dramas, showcasing a diverse range of narratives. From the thoughtprovoking “Durghatana” (“Accident”) by Chicago Natyogoshthi to the emotionally intense “An Emotional Cripple” by Mandi Theater from Chicago, the festival offered a kaleidoscope of perspectives. “Five Grains of Rice” by Ebong Theatrix from Washington DC provided an immersive experience, while “Ekti Obastab Golpo” (“An Implausible Story”) by Atlanta Theater Workshop, and “Khela” (“The Play”) by Songlaap from Cleveland, introduced captivating Bengali insights.
At the curtain call of the play, Dr. Raktim Sen responded to questions from the audience.
The grand finale of the festival was the premiere play “Confession,” a soul-stirring performance by the festival’s organizers, Aabaha. The play resonated deeply with the audience, leaving a lasting impact and embodying the festival’s ethos of cultural education and inspiration.
The festival’s impact extended beyond the stage as it hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion on August 6. Enthusiasts, artists, and intellectuals engaged in compelling dialogues, shared their personal journeys, and discussed the evolving role of theater in the lives of Indian subcontinent immigrants in the U.S.
Between the enthralling performances, attendees were treated to an exquisite art exhibition showcasing the talents of the local community. This visual feast featured stunning oil paintings, watercolors, collages, and wood crafts that explored the rich tapestry of cultural expression.
Brandon Hembree, Mayor of the City of Sugar Hill, graced the event as the Guest of Honor and conveyed his heartfelt appreciation: “You don’t have to understand the language in order to see beauty in the field of emotion—that was especially the case in the last performance. I have enjoyed my time here today and I just wanted to thank you for bringing the outside world to our community.”
A scene from the play “Confession.”
Kallol Nandi, the convener of the festival, expressed gratitude to the participating theater groups and Aabaha members for their dedication towards making the event a reality. The festival’s tagline, “Using theater for cultural education, entertainment, and inspiration of the community, create a platform for cultural exchanges among people of diverse ethnicities and build a bridge between the mainstream and immigrants,” was vividly embodied throughout the event.
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