Though many theatre productions have been staged since the independence of the country in 1971, the number of original plays has not been adequate, said professor Abdus Selim at a seminar held on Saturday at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Even most of the original plays that were written in the past 45 years were not up to the mark, he said.
Selim, who himself translated and adapted a number of foreign plays for local theatre, further stated that theatre practitioners in Bangladesh focused more on translated and adapted plays during this period.
The lecture session was part of the ongoing National Theatre Festival 2016 organised jointly by Bangladesh Group Theatre federation and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Professor Abdus Selim, in his lecture titled ‘Branches of Theatre in the Post-Liberation Era,’ classified Bangladeshi theatre into four categories: theatre based on translation, adaptation, classical and original plays.
By classical theatre, he meant plays by Rabindranath Tagore and his contemporaries, translations and adaptations of plays by ancient Greek or old English masters or plays based on folktale, palas, ballads and puranas.
‘Our theatre has simultaneously adapted and translated master playwrights’ works for our audience,’ said Selim, adding that adaptation makes a play accessible to its target audience but pure translation of original works has also its own value.
‘But what is most important to strengthen our theatre is to ensure production of original plays on a regular basis. A country’s theatre cannot flourish without its own original plays.
‘We have had only a handful of noteworthy playwrights in the last 50 years or so, including Munier Chowdhury, Sayeed Ahmad, Syed Shamsul Haq, Mamunur Rashid and Selim Al Deen.
‘We must ignite our young minds and draw them to theatre and get them to work for its development. Otherwise, we won’t have a self-sustaining theatre in the future,’ said Selim.
Earlier, Kairuzzahan Mitu delivered a lecture on costume design in theatre at the same venue.
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