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Stories in a Song features vignettes laced with humour and wit that tell stories of music and music making from history, literature, and theatre. The canvas of stories is rich and varied; a little known musical footnote from the freedom struggle; an exuberant satire on colonialism in the nautanki style; a poignant tale of a family of working musicians struggling to adapt to changing tastes; the story of a street smart modern day film composer who re-mixes an exquisite bandish by a classical singer, are only some of the gems performed by a group of enormously talented actor-singers.
Arpana is a Mumbai-based theatre group, which was established in 1985 and very quickly developed a reputation for presenting original Indian plays in innovative and compelling ways. It has performed plays written both by contemporary masters and younger writers. Their production of Cotton 56, Polyester 84, written by Ramu Ramnathan and supported by a grant from India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), played at every important theatre venue and festival across the country. This was followed by Mastana Rampuri Chappan Churri, a new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Three Penny Opera by Chetan Datar, and, S*x, M*rality and Cens*rship, a bold, provocative exploration of censorship by the state and society, developed by Shanta Gokhale and Irawati Karnik, the production of which was supported by a grant from IFA.
Stories in a Song is Arpana’s latest offering and was created in collaboration with Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan for the annual Baajaa Gaajaa music festival held in Pune in 2011.