Art & Culture

Musical theatre presents stories of two women

Cultural Correspondent
Stories and struggles, commitments and sacrifices, defeats and fights of two women living in different continents and periods were featured in Theatre Art Unit’s new musical SutaySutay Hannah O Shapla.
The musical play, loosely following the traditional pala form, was premiered to the acclaim of the audience on Friday at Nilima Ibrahim Auditorium of Bangladesh MahilaSamity.
Written by Anika Mahin and directed by RokeyaRafique Baby, the play brings together stories of two women, Hannah of Sweden and Shapla of Bangladesh. Though living in two very different places and time periods, the two women have their dreams, shattering of the dreams, commitments and fights in common.
Another major point of resemblance that brings Hannah and Shapla together is their passion for stitching and embroidery. Both of them learnt the craft of stitching and presenting stories through stitching from their mothers.
The one-hour play begins with the story of Hannah who declines to settle into a marriage when her fiancé demanded that she marry him and leave her craft for good. The story of Bangladeshi village girl Shapla, whose fate brings her to become a garment worker leaving the carefree and happy village life and her embroidery behind, comes to mingle with that of Hannah.
The connection between the two women, at times a bit uncanny, is more pronounced in the shattering of their dreams, in being ditched by their spouses and in their fights for their own place.
The stories of Hannah and Shapla, which might otherwise have seemed quite extraneously connected, seamlessly and pleasantly were connected through music making the production compact.
SelimMahbub, who did music for the play and also led the chorus, did a fabulous job, while Sangeeta Chowdhury and Mitaly Das respectively in the roles of Hannah and Shapla were marvelous.

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