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1st ever 2-day Nagaland Theatre Festival from Sept 15


The workshop on September 16 would emphasize on acting, set designing, lightings, and other basics. Interestingly, Bendang Walling, and Uto Chishi, were the first amongst the Nagas to have graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi.

By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent

An imaginary or fictitious character being portrayed in the novel “The Case of Longti Village” will be the first ever play to be staged in the state of Nagaland during the two days Nagaland Theatre Festival on September 15 and 16 at RCEMPA, Jotsoma, Kohima.
Putting all its efforts in order to stage the play, Bendang Walling, an alumnae of the prestigious National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, the artistic director of the play, and also an awardee of NEZCC’s Young Talented Artiste (Theatre), actor and film maker, while interacting with media persons in Dimapur disclosed that the play adapted by him basing on the novel by Sentilong Ozukum, an administrator, who is also known for his novel “Dreams and Chaos” which was made into a web series that received spontaneous and positive feedbacks especially during the “lockdown”, has roped in about 15 Naga artistes to be part of the play which he hoped definitely would do justice to their assigned characters.

Stating that art is not free, Walling mentioned that on the first day (September 15), the play would be opened to those art or drama enthusiasts who has to shell out Rs 50 per ticket which is totally a small amount to contribute towards appreciating Arts. The two-day Nagaland theatre festival is being organized under the banner of Hill Theatre, Nagaland, and in collaboration with TaFMA, government of Nagaland, the set to be designed by Thoudam M Victor Singh, and Uto Chishi, will also see the expertise hands of the assistant director, Kilangtemsu Imsong,
who has many following throughout after portraying as “Moluti” in the web series “Dreams and Chaos”.
Keeping in mind the versality of the Naga youths, the artistic director, Bendang Walling, who was also the main character in the Bollywood movie “Axone” which received rave response shared that at the festival, workshop on acting, stage craft and property making would also be in its itinerary on the second day (September 16) which is free of cost.
He informed that the curators for the proposed workshop on September 16 included himself and to be shared the with alumnus of National School of Drama (NSD), TIE, Agartala, Tripura, Kilangtemsu Imsong along with another recipient of NEZCC Young Talent 2016-17 award, Limanungdang Longchar, and also an alumnus of the NSD, Delhi, and presently working as the assistant professor at Unity College of Teacher
Education (UCTE), Dimapur.

According to Bendang Walling, the workshop on September 16 starting 10 am to 3 pm would solely emphasize on acting, set designing, lightings, and other basics. Interestingly, the duo, Bendang Walling, and Uto Chishi, were the first amongst the Nagas to have graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi.

Despite many offers being “laid” even before his passing out from the NSD, Delhi, it was learnt that Bendang was being offered with many opportunities to be in the “mainstream”, however, he rejected the offer (s) to listen to his callings to mold the young and talented Naga youths.
Mentioning that there are so many social institutions, however, he felt that the Church has also played a pivotal role in his journey and others as well as in moulding an individual which could be related to talents.
Highlighting that the very first workshop on drama and the performing arts in Nagaland was held a decade back (2010), with collaboration with Dimapur Ao Baptist Church (DABA), while still stint with NSD, Bendang cheered up for two of his students-Kilang, and Lima, who were his first batch students, making him proud through their unconventional performances in any play.

The director of the play, Bendang Walling, later shared that the Hill Theatre based in Dimapur was formed in the year 2012 with a vision to work for the upliftment of the Naga society. Having been conducted more than 20 workshops since its inception while it has produced about 15 plays, Bendang said that the team has represented Nagaland at various theatre festival in the northeast and nationally, while also adding that in its 11th years of its existence, he is very humbled to organize the first ever Nagaland Theatre Festival.

About the Play
In the idyllic Longti village (imaginary), the author narrates about young Vikta’s world whose world is violently upended by the enigmatic death of his father, who is revered village council chairman, and overnight, the quaint, a peaceful village is thrust into a maelstrom as a new chairman seizes control, bolstered by a sinister mix of wealth and brute force.
The once tranquil Longti village is marred by the brutal onset of coal mining, landscapes forever scarred, and lives irrevocably altered and where an undercurrent of tension permeates the air as lands are seized and the once lush greenery gives to a stark, desolate terrain.
The village’s rivers run black, forests wither away, and the verdant vegetation fades, leaving a grim shadow of the once thriving ecosystem.
As the rich bask in their opulence, the poor are left to bear the brunt of this ruthless exploitation while a silent epidemic of disease sweeps through the village, accompanied by a wave of destruction  that brings death in its wake.
Night after night, the protagonist (Vikta) broods in the darkness, his heart ablaze with anger as he watches the home he loves descend into “chaos and corruption”, and then one day, he vanishes.
A chilling discovery in the cemetery reveals Vikta, seemingly possessed, sparking a chain of events that sends shockwaves through the village council. As the village stands on the principle of annihilation, a question hangs heavy in the air which is whether the serene beauty of Longti survive the onslaught of human greed?, delve into riveting tale of mystery, betrayal, and the struggle for survival against the backdrop of “stark environmental catastrophe” which needs to unravel the secrets of Longti village and discover what lies at the heart of its darkness.

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