Paanch Korir Goppo – Full of youth, but lacking in freshness

Posted by Kaahon Desk On March 20, 2020

You’re bound to get invigorated by the energy and dedication of the performers of any of the productions by the Minerva Repertory. Even when new performers swarm in the energy of the team doesn’t seem to decrease at all. Instead it becomes evident how much of a rigorous physical and vocal training they are made to undergo. ‘Mumbai Nights’, ‘Nasika Puran’ and ‘Knaakra’, ‘Khorir Gondi”, no matter how they were as plays/theatre productions, entertained the audience immensely with their energetic performances. ‘Paanch Korir Goppo’ is a production by these actors themselves. From selecting the play to producing it, everything has been carried out by this bunch of young theatre practitioners. Hence, the expectation from this production was a little too high. It’s there in the repertory curriculum that all the actors had to present their directorial works. Out of all those, the best five were selected to present ‘Paanch Korir Goppo’ on stage. They were supposed to be the best of the bests and so the expectations were even higher now. According to the Minerva Repertory Theatre press release, ‘Paanch Korir Goppo’ is based on five plots or five miserable situations or five time periods. The content of the play consists of the different aspects, socioeconomic classes, politics and philosophies of the current society.

Previous Kaahon Theatre Review:

In the first play, ‘Isey Mat Kaho’ (written by Shanu and directed by Buddhadeb), we find the strong-minded, not compromising, and fighting spirit of Ismat Chughtai throwing very contextual questions at us. The media is trying to confuse our consciousness, rob us of ourselves by selling ‘con’-‘fused’ coffee. We all know what actually the flavor of the coffee is. We sip that coffee all day and night from Facebook, WhatsApp, news channels and newspapers. Now it’s nauseating and tastes bitter. The questions by Ismat ask us to look beyond the taste of this coffee and have a taste of our own tears, which we had completely forgotten about. These tears aren’t of grief or sorrow but of rising up out of our ashes with the support of a strong and steady spine.

The next play ‘Saral Anka’ (directed by Tathagata) takes us directly into a personal space. The mesmerizing writing of Mohit Chattopadhyay strengthens the base of the play from its beginning. This play mainly teaches us the philosophy of life. How the several perspectives of a single problem can change the entire problem into a completely different complexity is shown here in the form of a satire – a relation between the personal and the political.

The third play ‘Debi Chandi O Kaalketu’ (written by Anirban and directed by Tapasi) has been done in the folk form. It’s about how a Devi tries to form her own identity in this male dominated society. Without distorting the Kaalketu myth, the play, based on the epic poem by Kabikankan Mukunda Das, tries to uphold the picture of life in the Bengal countryside.

Badal Sircar’s ‘Bhul Rasta’ (directed by Debjani) pulls us back again from the personal towards the political. It tries to analyze through songs and stories the relation between the oppressor and the oppressed. It makes us dream of such a land where life would revolve around nature and humanity.

The last play ‘Lorai’ is by Nabarun Bhattacharya (directed by Pradip). It shows a part of the daily struggle that goes on in the red light areas. The mixture of yearnings, desires, jealousy, calls of death and the crude reality makes us want to taste a morsel of raw life. All the plays are relevant in today’s time. All the actors in their prime are excellent performers! But…

Somewhere there is a lack in the freshness, new age mentality, maturity and being contemporary. The use of lights, sound, stage, costume and especially direction and adaptation were extremely old-school. Most of the texts chosen are also pretty old. Why couldn’t the directors write or conceive something new? Don’t misunderstand us because we are not saying that old-school texts aren’t relevant. What we want to say is that this generation must learn from the previous generation and then make a confident take-off from that learning. How will theatre make progress if only the old plays are adapted into new theatres?  History has always had it that the pupil must transcend the master. We would like to ask one more question – In the midst of rigorous physical and vocal practice, is there a lack of brainstorming sessions in the repertory curriculum? Why aren’t there any experiments taking place when the stage, lights and sound are readily available for you? Without a doubt, the theatre practitioners at Minerva Repertory are more privileged (and well deservedly so) than the others in Bengal. The ones outside this circle, who are dedicating their lives just to keep practicing the art of theatre, have the talent as their only asset. From the beginning to the end, every play is heavily dependent on the acting portion. The lack of the use of the stage, scenography, lights, sound and the attempt to create a multilayered meaning through the performance text is disappointing. Nevertheless, the good and unique thing about the whole endeavour is the design in shifting from one play to another.

The questions that arise in ‘Isey Mat Kaho’ are practical and relevant but not deep enough. The director doesn’t address as to why the relevant questions must be asked or how the political becomes intimidatingly personal. As a result, the dialogues that should’ve energized us remained confined within the realm of entertainment. The play ‘Saral Anka’ too had the chance to delve deeper than being mere entertainment. Why did the folk play ‘Debi Chandi O Kaalketu’ have the obvious use of prerecorded popular commercial song ‘Ayigiri Nandini’ in the end? Being good singers, they could’ve sung the song themselves! Why didn’t ‘Bhul Rasta’ hit our conscience beyond the purpose of entertainment despite the great performance? Why didn’t the fight in ‘Lorai’ come out of the confined space of the personal? Why weren’t the questions of patriarchy addressed properly? Why wasn’t there an alternative gaze in the plays despite there being several chances to do so? These questions have to be raised! Another young theatre group Samuha has presented all the personal, public and political questions in their play ‘Atha Hirimba Katha’ (Atha Hirimba Katha review). Although the Samuha’s performers weren’t as competent as the Minerva’s, but the earlier ones’ energy to question and assert was something should be witnessed by the later ones. The necessity to assert from inside is very important, isn’t it?

Dosh – A very necessary celebration of elderlinessThey have tried to portray themselves as part of the Minerva Repertory team through this production. Everyone has done their part in every department. Their names have been mentioned together so as to respect their team spirit in practicing theatre. This play’s latest show date was 28th February 2020 on Girish Manch stage. This review has been written on the basis of the show staged on 12th November 2019.

The Minerva Repertory Team:


Anirban, Arimita, Ananya, Koushik, Buddhadeb, Tathagata, Tanmay, Dipanwita, Debjani, Nibedita, Prithwiraj, Pradip, Santanu, Shipra, Subham, Sayanti, Sulagna, Suparna, Swagatam.


Set: Koushik, Tanmay, Prithwiraj, Santanu

Light: Anirban, Dipanwita, Subham, Swagatam

Props: Arimita, Debjani, Nibedita, Sulagna

Costume: Tathagata, Pradip, Shipra, Suparna

Sound Projection: Buddhadeb, Tathagata, Nibedita, Pradip

Instruments: Tathagata, Prithwiraj, Pradip

Make up: Ananya


Buddhadeb, Tathagata, Tapasi, Debjani, Pradip

Production Planning

Partha Sarathi Sarkar


Minerva Repertory Members

Special Thanks

Minerva Administration Committee


Ebong Ipsita
A Kolkata based theatre practitioner, she has been doing theatre from 2005 and now she is co-directing and adapting plays for different theatre groups in Bengal. She believes to explore the web medium as well to express herself to the world.

Translation: Kankabati Banerjee

Read this review in Bengali.

বাংলাতে পড়তে ক্লিক করুন।

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