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New World Theatre Group

ParthaAurovilian Partha, age 27, was born in Aspiration and brought up in Auroville. His parents are among the local Tamilians who joined Auroville during its very first years.

Absorbing east and west
Growing up in Auroville implied assimilating a mixture of both Indian and Western culture, and Partha absorbed it all..
From his very early years onwards, he felt strongly attracted by theatre and played in a number of school plays and village theatres. Already in the eighties, he played in a village theatre group called 'Revolutionary Flowers' ('ProdchiPuccal' in Tamil), which participated in competitions in Pondicherry at the time..  "And of course we won", he says easily, "three times.." The scripts were written by a friend, Srinivasan, who now still is active in the field of educational theatre in collaboration with the Auroville Health Centre.

A new world
Several years ago, in 1999, Partha wrote and directed his first Auroville play, 'A new world', with a group of youth from Auroville schools. This performance was very well appreciated and everybody encouraged him to carry on in this line. Encouraged by the success, the 'New World Theatre' group was formed.  It consists of around fifteen youth, mostly Aurovilians, both genders, from the  east and west. 

Harichandra'harichandran', 1999
In 2000 the 'New World Theatre' group performed another play, ''Harichandra, a tale on Truth' in the Bharat Nivas Auditorium during the ten-day Youth 2000 programme for which many of the AV kids who were temporarily abroad, returned home to the township. This was a real breakthrough. His troupe at the time mainly consisted of students of Auroville's After School and Last School, aged between some 14 and 20 years. While the play was written and directed by Partha, the sets were by young Aurovilian artist Aaron, music by Igor, lights by Jean, costumes by Uma, and co-directed and managed by Joy. Duration 1 hour. 

Integration between cultures
The auditorium was packed with a thoroughly mixed Tamilian/Western, very responsive audience: never before did we have such an enthusiast, joyful, finely detailed and integrated collaboration between the two cultures. Many members in the audience felt touched and proud while seeing Auroville's younger generation perform and function and mingle so well together, - thereby producing a highly entertaining evening on the side.. 
The story is originally from the Mahabarata, with plenty of gold and silk and kings and sages, and was re-written 'especially for Auroville' by Partha.. It leads us through various aspects of Indian
life, with little touches of humor and drama, and lots of colour and zest, displaying these touching idiosyncrasies of the culture around us which we have come to appreciate so much, repeatedly evoking a smiling recognition in all.. 
They also had us roar with laughter and dead silent with awe.. 

Seven deaths of Karna
Presently, preparations are undertaken for a next performance, 'Seven deaths of Karna', which may come on stage in Bharat Nivas somewhere later in 2001. Also this is based on a story of the Mahabharata, adapted to the Auroville theatre world by Partha and his troupe.

Tamil New Year events
During the Tamil New Year celebrations (on April 14th), the group takes every year care of a special event. Partha hopes that it will become an Auroville tradition that during these occasions the various schools and other groups in the bioregion will bring out their best in a day full of colour, performances, fun, games and joy.

'Auroville clean'..
Cleaning up the rubbishA very interesting thing to note here is that the team spirit among the members of Partha's troupe initiated an entirely different undertaking as well. After the Harichandra performance, Partha tells us, "we were looking for a way to stay together as a group, and at the same time doing something useful. A theatre performance once a year maybe, but some more activities in between! So we got the idea of keeping Auroville clean. Especially on the roads one often finds plastic and other garbage, so every week on Sunday some eight of us, collect it from the roads.. We're having special 'Auroville clean' T-shirts, and after the work we enjoy a snack together. It's fun! When you're in Auroville, come and join! "

contact: partha@auroville.org.in


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