It has been a lively month!
We spent the first weekend of March with six lovely participants at The Write Habit in Bangalore, and are now en route to have our first offsite (more on this later)! From wiggling our way into writing rooms, new scripts, new shows and reading a Gujarati play – check out everything we’re up to!
A dancer, mass communication graduate, software engineer and educator walked into a room. What happened? They began writing a play! In March, we held the second edition of our 3-day dramatic writing workshop The Write Habit with six participants from varied backgrounds, who found it useful to have a structure for writing and spent most of their time actually writing their scripts.
When we began designing the workshop, our intention was to bring the fun back in writing -- that writing doesn't have to be a pursuit only for people who are serious about doing theatre. The format of the workshop itself has evolved over the last two iterations and will continue to as we go on. Phalguni Vittal Rao, from The Drama Library, who has been witnessing its progress from the start, shares her observations on why we are doing this and our plans for this year.
Documenting Tamaasha Studio Foundation’s residential playwriting workshop at Us Paar, in Kashid, Maharashtra in February, got us thinking about how much fun it is to talk about writing and how different people approach it. So, when performer, playwright, director and director Nisha Abdulla announced her weekend writing workshop ‘Of Shared Universes’ in March, we jumped at the opportunity to document it.
Nisha’s practice is rooted in care and resistance, something we are excited to know more about. We have a young actor-writer Ashmita Arjun, who will be present in the virtual room over the course of three weeks, sharing her reflections and observations as 16 participants explore different facets of writing and the craft that goes into it.
The past month has been promising.
Karan Shetty shared Being Sartak Majumdar, which was incidentally a finalist at the Thespo Festival in 2012. We also received our first Assamese play (which also has English) Sentences from Radhika Goswami and Raktim Gautam!
Apart from this, we also got two Marathi plays from Sayali Tamane (Asach Kadhitari) and Shivam Panchbhai (Andacell).
Have a play you would like listed? Upload it here.
Something strange is happening in a town busy with Navratra festivities: loved ones and acquaintances are turning into buffaloes (Mahish). Based on Eugene Ionesco’s playRhinoceros, catch Third Space Collective’s revival of their play Mahish this weekend on 25 and 26 March, 7.30 pm at New Delhi’s Black Box Okhla.
For tickets, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And psst. In other news, we are busy working on bringing this co-producing model to you! More details soon. Keep an eye out for updates on our social media.
As we trot through plays from different regions, this month we’ve arrived in Gujarat! Join us for a rehearsed reading of Abhimanyu Acharya’s Gujarati play Vesha on 30 March, 6 pm - 8 pm. (And it’s on a Thursday this time, not Saturday as per our usual).
About the play: 'Vesha' is the story of a conflict between a father and a son in a Bhavai troupe, as both decide to stage different Veshas on the same night. Father stages theVesha of Asaait Thakar, the founder of Bhavai, set in the fourteenth century. Son stages a modern vesha of two lower-caste cops and their encounter with a Patidar youth after thePatidar agitation for reservation in 2015. Read more here.
After the reading, actor and playwright Satchit Puranik will be in conversation with Abhimanyu to deconstruct the contemporary piece and discuss the folk legacy of 'bhavaai' and its complex relationship with caste.
Ahead of the conversation, we caught up with Abhimanyu who shared about things he would like to uninvent, his favourite plays and more.
If you suddenly had powers of invisibility, what would you use them for?
I would use my powers of invisibility to travel for free around the world. I might also steal some money from Mukeshbhai and Gautambhai to use for good causes. And I would certainly harass people I don't like.
Why do you write?
Writing is the only thing that has worked for me. I don't know anything else, I wish I did. I get bored easily with most things but writing has been something that has not bored me yet and I feel I can sustain it for a longer period.
What is the weirdest food combination you enjoy?
Using yogurt instead of butter/peanut butter/jam on bread. Totally weird, but worth a try. I like it.
If you could read a play for the first time again, which one would it be?
Many of them. But four come to mind right now -- Anthony Shaffer's 'Sleuth', Karnad's 'Tughlaq', Caryl Churchill's 'Far Away', Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America'.
If you could un-invent one thing, what would it be?
ChatGPT, along with all the AI that can do any kind of artistic activities. Perhaps right now they are not at par with the quality of art humans produce, but some day, they might. I dread that day. So I would rather it is un-invented.
If you were a ghost, who would you haunt?
I am super lazy as a human being, and I will be super lazy as a ghost. I don't think I will haunt anyone. It requires a lot of effort.
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