Nautanki: Could you tell us a little about you and your Theatre group?
Napoleon: I was born in Bombay, in a catholic family. My father was a teacher in Marathi school. He always encouraged us to read books. Somehow I started reading books about dramas and plays. I found it very interesting. In my young age I started acting on stage. When I realised this field is not as easy as I thought, I decided to study more about acting and attended some workshops. I have also participated in one- act-play competitions and once won acting awards on state level. I have also written one- act- plays and won best playwright award.
I migrated to Australia in 1990. I never thought that I will get an opportunity to act and direct plays in Australia, but if you have a will then there is a way and your talent can be used anywhere in the world. I was very happy to hear about Sydney Marathi Association (MASI). They had been presenting a lot of cultural programs including Marathi plays. I joined MASI in 1992. Since then I have performed and directed many plays including some one acts.
Nautanki: How did you get involved with South Asian Theatre Festival 2016?
Napoleon: One day the phone rings “…this is Neel Banerjee speaking”. He introduced himself and told me about Nautanki and what his plans were. I could not believe that Nautanki theatre was giving me an opportunity to perform in their SATF 2016. I said YES to him straightaway without thinking even though I had already one big project in my hand.
Nautanki: How many cast members are there in your play ?
Napoleon: We have 8 cast members in this one act Marathi play. Marathi people are from Maharashtra state of India and they are very proud of cultural plays. Marathi people took their dramatic art all around the world. Marathi plays are more popular in Maharashtra. Casts in this play are very talented and enthusiastic. They are ready to sacrifice anything they can for this art-form.
Nautanki: Why People should come and see Ukirda?
Napoleon: Ramesh Pawar is a famous playwright in India who writes in Marathi language. In this one act play titled “Ukirda” (Rubbish) he has chosen a very emotional topic about cast-ism in India. How the low caste people get treated by high caste, and how they have to fight for their rights. Why do we ignore God’s creation and follow man made selfish rules. There is a great message to take away for all of us from this play. This play is very cleverly and powerfully presented without using any props on the stage.