Theatre troupe Oboyob Natyadal staged Feriwala on Tuesday at Studio Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
The play, written by Asaduzzaman Badal and directed by Shahidul Haque Khan Shyanon, portrays the exploitation of ethnic minority people.
Feriwala revolves around a Santal family and begins with the announcement of the news that a certain Shaheb from town, who never appears in person in the play, is interested in buying ‘sorrows and pains’ of the poor villagers.
The villagers are initially stunned by the news, not knowing what that meant, and naively starts hoping that their days of sorrow will be soon over since they have ample sorrows to sell.
Like others, an excited Lokai, a poor Santal boy, runs to his home and urges his father Nilkanthi to collect all their ‘sorrows and pains.’
Later, it transpires that the Shaheb actually wants to buy antiques like indigenous weapons and other items.
Nilkanthi has an old trident (trishula) that fits the description. His son urges him to sell it but Nilkanthi says it bears ‘the memory of my father and the spirit of Lord Shiva.’
Lokai threatens Nilkanthi, who feels betrayed and takes his own life with the trident. This makes Lokai come to his senses.
The trident, thus, becomes a symbol of awakening for Lokai and a source of protest against exploitation and the exploiters, characterised in the play by the Shaheb and his local agent.
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