Dr. Satyabrata Rout, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts in the S N School of Arts & Communication, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been awarded India’s most prestigious national honoउr for theatre. Dr. Rout was adjudged the Best Director for Matte Ekalavya whose lead Dingri Naresh won the award for Best Actor. The META 2013 six member jury consisting Nissar Allana, Shobha Deepak Singh, Anmol Vellani, Renu Roy, Bhanu Bharti and Pawan Maskara judged the nominated productions to be honored with India’s most prestigious national honor for theatre.
Matte Eklavya bagged best director, best actor, best supporting actor and best costume at Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META). The original play tells the mythological story of Eklavya, a gifted archer, who cut off his thumb at the command of his guru Dronacharya. But Matte Eklavya performed in Kannada, English and Hindi is told from Eklavya’s perspective, underscoring the oppression of a tribal boy at the hands of his upper caste teacher.
Ekalavya represents the most peripheral edge in the Mahabharata. But he is also a great source of hope, because of his resurrection through self learning. The play examines his sources of knowledge. Ekalavya is seen as a metaphor, and his story is woven through contemporary imagination. Ganesha, whose fall from being a local Ganadevata (people’s god) to that of a presiding deity in the fold of mainstream Hinduism, is a subject of humorous critique. Ganesha is haunted in his dreams by Ekalavya, and he starts dreaming of the ‘Ekalavya of the future’. Wishing to write about the futuristic Ekalavya, he forces Vyasa to enter his dreams, so that the author of the Mahabharata might compose a new retelling of the story.
Dr. Rout is currently on a two-month assignment teaching Indian Theatre to the students of East 15 Acting School, University of Essex, United Kingdom. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org