The entrance to Purano Ghar, the theatre house staging Sulakshyan Bharati’s “Ma”, can hide in plain sight unless you’re actually looking for it. Sandwiched between a Syanko Roll outlet and a restaurant named the Taste of Kathmandu, the small, unpretentious entrance gives way to a narrow, dimly-lit passage to the theatre.
The only two things the theatre has that would qualify as invitations to a random stroller, apart from the name painted on its entrance, are a slightly protruding board on a pole with its name, and, down below, a lone stand holding a copy of the coverage of the show in one of the few English broadsheet dailies in Nepal. There is no other way a layperson would know that the place had a theatre in its womb unless they had heard or read about it.
One could lazily assume that the theatre’s austerity and lack of advertisement upfront are because of financial compulsions more than the owner’s choices. But one is also forced to question that assumption after watching the show and talking with the man himself. The narrative plot, Bharati’s performance, and the theatre house he has built at the place where his own house once stood, all have the potential to stand alone, and, more importantly, speak for themselves.
Before Bharati starts his act, a combination of monologues and recollections of encounters he’s had over the years as a theatre artist, the audience hears a continuous ticking sound. As the sound permeates through the black box theatre, building suspense, an announcer comes to the front to perform the usual drill of reminding the
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