Renowned theatre activist Rokeya Rafique Baby said the theatre arena of the country will need a lot of time to bounce back as the COVID-19 situation is gradually worsening.
‘I think that the theatre arena will need more time to bounce back than other genres of art and culture. Theatre shows are held before a live audience and no theatre shows were held since March in the country as all venues have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is difficult to continue theatre under the present circumstances because if we hold shows mass gatherings will happen,’ Rokeya Rafique Baby told New Age.
When asked whether virtual shows can be alternative to public shows, she replied, ‘Though many cultural organisations have been organising virtual programmes, it is difficult to arrange theatre events online because in virtual shows the audience won’t feel any connection with the artistes. Besides, artistes will miss the enjoyment and thrill of performing before a house-full audience and atmosphere of the public show.’
‘As the situation is not improving, we should not think about organising theatre shows in the coming days. I think we should wait until December. If the situation improves, we will think about organising shows. We should spend the time studying and practicing theatre at home,’ she added.
Rokeya Rafique Baby began her journey as a theatre activist in 1979. She made her stage debut with the play ‘Sojon Badiyar Ghat’, directed by SM Solaiman, where she portrayed the character named Dilu.
‘I began my theatrical journey as a member of Padatik Natya Sangshad. After “Sojon Badiyar Ghat”, I acted in “Rustamer Gappo”. I am also a founding member of Dhaka Padatik and Theatre Art Unit. Now I am with Theatre Art Unit, which made debut with “Golapjan”. I made by directorial debut with “Lakshmir Pala” in 1994,’ said Baby.
When asked whether she has any message for the younger generation theatre artistes, she uttered, ‘I welcome them. Many senior artistes have almost reached the end of their careers and may soon retire. The younger generation will ultimately become torchbearers. I warmly welcome them and urge them to take responsibility and practice theatre seriously. I hope they enrich our theatre scene by creating new authentic productions.’
Rokeya Rafique Baby has been staying at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak and not going outside unless it’s an emergency. She has been spending her time with her daughter, reading books and watching TV.
‘I would like to express my gratitude to those who are fighting COVID-19 on the front line. I also urge the theatre lovers not to go outside unless it’s an emergency and maintain social distancing. I hope the crisis will end soon and things will go back to normal,’ Baby ended.
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