They all watched the couple combat – observed their tense physique language, the clanging of utensils. They watched from the home windows and the kitchen door; some sipped tea made by the lady as a part of the act. When the couple lastly known as a truce, the group walked out into the backyard of The Company Theatre’s (TCT) 5-acre Kamshet residency and sat down by a lake.
There was no stage, no chairs, no curtain calls and no spoken phrases on the first efficiency by TCT after the six-month pandemic-prompted break. Instead, the occasion featured 9 acts and a socially distanced viewers that would additionally select to take part — by sipping tea, serving to plant a tree, strolling into the lake, relying on what the scene demanded.
Where Have All The Woods Come From, first carried out on September 22 (there are 10 extra performances scheduled in Kamshet by the top of November) was an immersive two-and-a-half-hour efficiency, and an train in how restrictions might spark innovation within the performing arts.
“The performance represented the different states that humans, especially artists, were inhabiting in the nation — amid CAA, extended restrictions in Kashmir. The lockdown was the last nail in the coffin. There was anger, frustration, depression. It was all very dark. We meander around those states without any spoken word,” says creative director Atul Kumar.
So, there are beds, shrouds, on a regular basis banalities was group dance, a violent and aggressive chopping of a fish/flesh with a butcher’s knife as a Kathak dancer performs alone on a stage distant; there are clowns, folks ready for one thing to occur, one thing that by no means does. There is friction and co-existence on the similar time.
The format was additionally a response, Kumar says, to being within the midst of different human beings after months of isolation. “Stepping out, interacting with others was overwhelming, it felt like we were all under a spell,” Kumar says.
Pune filmmaker Anupam Barve, 36, who was within the viewers, described the expertise as fascinating, “once I loosened up”. Coming from a conventional Marathi theatre background, this sort of performative expertise was new. “I had my reservations initially,” he says.
But because the play progressed and viewers members learn poems and essays and listened to music and planted saplings, let go of their umbrellas and loved the rain, “I had completely submitted to the performance,” he provides.
Is this the way forward for theatre then — immersive, interactive, minimalist? “Theatre has survived wars and epidemics and economic meltdown for thousands of years and so it will now too,” says Kumar. “What forms it will emerge in post-Covid is anyone’s guess. But I am excited to see what theatre will talk about, whether it will be more internal, more collaborative, more tolerant.”
The performers every took one thing else away from the expertise. “To be part of something that goes beyond the spoken word, that unites you with yourself and nature… that’s something all of us need now more than ever,” says Bharti Perwani, one of many 9 performers.
Up subsequent for The Company Theatre is a ‘performance website’, a digital and collaborative theatre format. “It’s a sort of online museum where you can enter different rooms to experience different parts of the show,” says Kumar. “The control stays with the audience as they make choices to do this or that.”