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META 2018: India's annual "Drama in Diversity"

Entertainment is more than what is offered in multiplexes or in streaming networks like Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar. Entertainment originated from the world’s oldest art form, theatre. The moving and immediate experience of watching performers live on a stage in a shared space with like-minded people is what Netflix, Television or even Cinema can’t replicate.

We bring to you an opportunity in Delhi to celebrate all things about theatre at the annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards and Festival by rewarding and recognising all aspects of theatre and stage craft. In its momentous journey of 13 years META has staged many outstanding plays from all over the country.

Drama in Diversity is the theme at META 2018. The drama festival will highlight the range and multiplicity across themes, regions, languages, forms and people in our country.

Along with embracing diversity, META 2018 will provide a stage to fresh perspectives that challenge our thinking, imagination, and expression. In that spirit, we are smashing – the jinx of the number 13 – at the 13th META by opening on 13th April, with nominations in 13 categories.

Other than excellence in diversity, one will see some other threads that run through the 10 shortlisted plays at META 18’.

In terms of theatrical expression, the plays this year have two distinct styles. One set are the time-tested- content driven plays – these are regional productions with a large dose of folk music and dance forms or urban theatre, whose productions used the static box set and the traditional way of emoting on stage to tell their stories.

At the same time, we will also showcase both Indian and English language productions that have experimented and seamlessly fused traditional and contemporary forms for effective story-telling. Fare that is honest, direct and communicative.

For the first time, a play Higuita: The Goalie’s anxiety at the Penalty Kick will be performed at the location, a football field. It is a dramatic tale of a priest rising to the occasion with the spunk of a maverick goalkeeper to save the life of a helpless girl.

Moreover, reinterpretation of mythology and folk tales and retelling of classics remains a recurrent theme because of their timeless magic and recall value. The plays Hojang Taret, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Shikhandi and Karurppuwill take you down this road in their unique styles.

After thirteen years META has become more than the Indian theatre industry’s premier awards; today it is an all empowering platform for plays that reflect social reality and nudge our consciousness. At least six plays directly talk about marginalised section of society, be it women, Dalits or transgenders, reminding us about the transforming power that lies in theatre even while entertaining.

Vignettes about the 10 plays can be accessed on our website

META brings the best of Indian theatre on one stage over 5 days to redefine binge-watching. Please find the outlines of the 10 shortlisted play below.

So, remove the synthetic and return to the organic in entertainment. Keep your remotes away and don’t switch channels while watching META 18.


A lively Manipuri Musical version of a Greek tragedy – Phoenician Women – by Euripides about fraternal conflicts and the mother caught in between….


The underbelly of Hindi Cinema, its B- grade films, seen through the eyes of an Assistant to a B- Grade superstar Sapna.


A non-verbal dance-drama about the ultimate union of Purusha (male) and Prakriti (female) energies and the cycle of birth, destruction and rebirth of the universe…


The play set in a Hindu Matha (Monastery) presents the dilemma of succession involving two protagonists with divergent ideologies……


A socio-political satire about pseudo-nationalism and casteism set in rural India.


A retelling of Bertolt Brecht’s epic play about “real” motherhood which comes from the heart and not the womb…


A sweeping saga of prostitution, brutality and survival spawned by the Second World War and unleashed by imperialist Japan on India’s east…

Higuita – The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

Heroes come from the most unlikely corners – a dramatic tale of a priest rising to the occasion with the spunk of a maverick goalkeeper to save the life of a helpless girl…


A Bengali folk ballad which holds up the ideal of love in its purest form in a tale of two star-crossed lovers against a bleak mountainous landscape…


A comic, tongue-in-cheek retelling of the story of Shikhandi, the first transgender in mythology, which mixes the traditional with the contemporary, and raises questions on maleness, femaleness and everything in between…

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