Drums on the Dam (Bandh)

Based on “Drums on the Dam”
Playwright: Helene Cixous
Adaptation, Design & Direction: Ashim Das
First Staged On: May 17, 2010 at Alliance Française, Chittagong.

About Play

The prosperous regions are threatened by a huge flood. The gloomy news spread in all the classes of the population. To answer the catastrophe, Lord Khang, the king decides to destroy the dam and sacrifice nearby small villages in order to save the city from the disaster, local peasants, a group of drummers gather on to the dam to keep watch and warn the villagers.

“I saw the void, it was a time after the end of our world. You all had disappeared under the grey-colored ocean…” the soothsayer tries to aware the people by announcing those lines before the country. But who cares…

When the corruption began, mud swamps the soul, and the people find themselves on a way towards the splendid palace and hurried so much without knowing where they are actually going…

The monasteries, the traitors swallowed the humanity…

The cities of the hundred golden doors lie there in her muddy shroud…

And finally, Men strike each other in the heart…the bridges are destroyed…

The moon makes its way alone…

And tomorrow…a new sun will up to be there…But no eyes will remain to see the beauty of the Earth.

About the Playwright

Helene Cixous is a French feminist writer, poet, playwright, philosopher, literary critic and professor of feminist philosophy. Members of her family were Jewish, including her father, and the activities of World War II had an early influence on her. She has published widely, and along with Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, she is considered one of the mothers of poststructuralist feminist theory. In the 1970’s, Cixous began writing about the relationship between sexuality and language. Like other poststructuralist feminist theorists, she believes that our sexuality is directly tied to how we communicate in society. In 1975, Cixous published her most influent article “Le rire de la meduse” (The Laugh of the Medusa), translated and released in English in 1976. she has published over seventy works; her fiction, dramatic writing and poetry, however, are not often read in English. She holds honorary degrees from several universities and is also a professor and the European Graduate School in Saas-fee, Switzerland.


Director’s Note

By the grace of property dealers and so-called developers, the sky line of the city is changing overnight. The corruption wrought on the city…Betrayal and treason mark each hour on the city’s clock…Men are brutishly razing forests and killing nature out of last…The thought that the end of the world is nigh and that time is very short seems to be swallowing everything.

As a theatre activist, I think it is my responsibility and I always try to portray the inhumanity of human beings, the irrelevance, the dark side of society, which we don’t want to highlight or even notice. So, like the Drummers of Cixous’s Drums on the Dam, we would like to inspire everyone to be an intrepid sentinel of society. To design the performance I have tried to follow the style of Japanese ‘Kabuki’ theatre with reference to costume, settings, props and even in the acting style.

On Stage

Jishu Das: Bei-ju / The Monk

Tapos   Chakraborty: The soothsayer / Tshumi (The court painter) / The fisherman / The drums

Ankhi Majumder/ Manisa Orchy: Duan (The soothsayer’s daughter) / Omi (The Lantern peddier)

Mubidur Rahman Sujat: Lord Khang

Rumal Barua: The Chancellor

Hasibul Alam: Lord Hun (Lord Khang’s nephew)

Md. Nazmul Haque Ratan, Bappy Shikder: Hi-Tao (Hun’s Lieutenant) / The fisherman / The guard / The palace servant / The attendant

Kamal Barua, Shahriar Mahmud: The chief intendant / The fisherman / The drums / The guard

Saifur Rahman Parves, Md. Jaber: The Architect / The Attendant

Nazia Tabassum Nancy, Md. Anisul Islam Sharnil: The Architect’s wife / Fisherman’s wife / The drums / The guard

Tapos Bappi, Shohidul Alam Sabit: Wang Po (The chancellor’s scratery) / The guard

Poly Chowdhury Boby: Madame Li (The Noodle peddler) / The River / The drums

Muslima Khatun Lima /Nishigandha Das Gupta: Kisa (Her servant) / Fisherman’s wife / The Attendant

Mohammad Sazzad Hossen/Shohidul Alam Sabit: The Fisherman / Liou Po / Wang Po’s old father / The guard

Prem Pathak: The fisherman / The drums

Sanowar Hossen Sumon: The fisherman / The guard/ The palace servant/The Attendant


Set, Light, Costume, Music Design: Ashim das
Choreography: Tilottoma Sengupta
Music: Ali Afsar Jumman
Make-up: Shaheenoor Sarwar / Tapos Chakraborty
Props Assistance: Boby, Rumel
Carpenter: Md. Malek
FOH: Fameans
Production Coordinator: Showmen Rudra, Hasibul Alam