‘In a remote village in eastern Tibet lives Deshar, a self-confident young woman who has chosen to live as a Buddhist nun. When the nuns resist ordered re-education measures, the convent is closed by order of the Chinese police officer Deng. Deshar loses her last bit of freedom. The feeling of powerlessness in the face of permanent oppression leads down the path of ultimate non-violence.
NCPA in collaboration with Tibet Theatre and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) is proud to present the Tibetan theatre production “Pah-Lak” on Saturday, 25 March at 7pm. “Pah-La” (Tibetan for “Father”) is originally an English play based on intensive research – it is an examination the future of non-violence. The play focuses on the role of Buddhism in the lives of Tibetans and the dichotomy of the resistance movement that has emerged from decades of oppression, discrimination and marginalisation.
Indian theatre director and playwright Abhishek Majumdar developed the play through rigorous research in Tibet and in collaboration with the Tibetan community in exile. Abhishek met with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, as part of his research. He was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH The Dalai Lama. ‘Pah-La’ premiered on 3rd April 2019 at Royal Court Theatre, London with support from Reimagine India, Arts Council England.
Now, the Tibetan director and head of ‘Tibet Theatre’ Lhakpa Tsering and German theatre director Harry Fuhrmann in collaboration with Abhishek, have realised a production of ‘Pah-Lak’, translated to Tibetan language by Lhakpa, with Tibetan actors and musicians. They are chosen from the Tibetan community, in collaboration with TIPA.
Playwright Abhishek Majumdar says, “I am honoured that finally this play is having its Tibetan production in Tibetan language with Tibetan actors. I am grateful to all the hundreds of people who have made this play happen around the world over the years so that now it can come home. It was not easy but it is definitely worth this. Very grateful to HH the Dalai Lama for his time and blessings and to Tibetans around the world.”
After premiering at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts on 01 October 2022, the show travelled to Bir, Delhi, Dehradun, Mussoorie. It has performed at Prithvi Festival, Mumbai and Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa. It is being hosted at NCPA as part of its second tour across various urban cities and Tibetan settlements in India. After this, the show will travel to Germany and Switzerland in the summer of 2023. Further international tours are being planned.
“Pah-Lak is the biggest theatre tour for a Tibetan play performed by an all Tibetan cast”, says writer and director Lhakpa Tsering. This collaborative project between Tibet Theatre and the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, the only arts and culture centre under the Central Tibetan Administration provides the Tibetan artists the opportunity to deeply engage, share experiences and introspect about the Tibetan culture and history.
Director Harry says, “I am grateful to be allowed to help the first all-Tibetan acting ensemble tell their story in India and in Europe and create awareness for the Tibetan issue.”
The show offers Tibetans a platform where their voices, experiences and demands can be heard. It will provide the community with the urgently needed protection of the Tibetan language, threatened to extinction by the Sinicisation efforts of the People’s Republic of China. The tour would inspire even more people to actively support the Tibetans’ striving for self-determination and the observance of human rights.