Like the roar of a thousand lions the rain came, the village grew dark. The waters rose – the flood had started.
Trapped on the branches of a single tree stands Dadi – the Grandmother, Sadek visiting from England, Kalim, a village boy and Kanchi the snake. To survive they must find ways to reconcile their differences and learn to respect each others ways of life.
This peice, by Bengali writer Shamin Azad, created a beautifully visual narrative of talking snakes, with songs and music, providing a suspense thriller adventure for primary schools where this production toured.
Bhela – The Raft, was one of a series of bilingual Theatre-in-Education plays presented by the company in in English and Sylheti-Bengali. The play was performed at the London Festival of Bangladesh, and Equal Voices Festival in Birmingham – a major international festival celebrating bilingual arts in education.
Shamim Azad was Writer-in-Residence at Half Moon Young People’s Theatre in the early 1990s. She talks about the inspiration for her bi-lingual play, Bhela – The Raft and the influence of her Bangladeshi heritage on the story. Interviewed by Georgina Da Silva.