Category Archives: Event

Creating the ‘Maya’ – Back Stage

atta8Vijay Padaki once exclaimed during his production of Emil’s Enemies, “My main actors are not onstage but offstage.” The words were etched in my heart since then, but unfortunately, I have rarely been part of that magical process, because the actor within me has always been hungry to be in the forefront rather than in the background. Mayabazar, finally helped me understand Padaki’s word in detail when I was given the charge of costumes and assist Ravi, our stage manager in any way that was possible. Thus, the fairy tale began to unfold. None of us in the team is qualified in fashion design, which is why it was quite an unearthing experience to come up with a fusion look for the actors, especially when some of them are not in their best of human forms yet has that uncanny resemblance to their human counterparts. Me, Ravi and my very talented partner Anushri have had  innumerable sessions in understanding the practical possibility of coming up with a look, which is comfortable for the actors, not too complicated and will not create a hole in your pocket. One of the most amazing things working in the backstage of a theatre production is the resultant effect of the amalgamation of the various ideas into one single unit, which gives the idea of a collective effort involved in making the final product. At times you might not be on the same page with your partner in deciding the idea, but you realise that it is after all not a bad thing, because with patience and virtue the consensus that is arrived in is actually a much better outcome, rather than your own single endeavour – and this is exactly the way Mayabazar has been created. In this process, you create a family outside your family – a family where everybody is equal, talented and has an adrenaline rush to produce ‘maya’ at any point of time. In the course of time Maya Bazaar has taught us that there is nothing called ‘a bad idea.’ There is, of course, workable and not – workable ones, but no idea is trashy. You have to play with it for some time to realise its viability but definitely, you cannot discard an idea, just like that and terming it bad or useless. Therefore, whatever the audience will see today is an ultimate effort and endeavour from every individual in this team, for innumerable months and days, and a determination to take them on this  unforgettable journey.

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Working in Mayabazar has taught be three important things – firstly, you do not need a formal qualification to get into stagehand work. What you need is a minimum level of discipline and organising  skills and the fact that you do not hesitate to ask for help (a very crucial quality), because you honestly do not think that, you shall be involved in everything. Secondly, you need appropriate interest and to me is the most important of all because this is what will drive you to work for the betterment of the product and use your brains until the last level and thirdly investment of an appropriate amount of time. You cannot expect things to happen just by the whip of your wand. You have to invest your time and energy should have the patience that things will come out. Thus, the combination of these three elements is what Mayabazar is today and everything that you see is created right from the scratch by the super energetic, talented, vivacious, brilliant, and artistic team who have worked relentlessly to give you this experience.

I hope, Mayabazaar creates the same magic on the audience as it has on us, theatre  is magic and when ‘Maya’ happens you get a double dose of magic. Now, who can deny that?

This write-up has been authored by Shatarupa Bhattacharyya

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Rhinocerous

Bangalore Little Theatre and Alliance Française de Bangalore
Present
RHINOCEROS
An adaptation by Eugene Ionesco : a comedy in the absurd tradition

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Now in its 55th year, Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT) is the city’s oldest and most widely respected theatre society, committed to the promotion of theatre and performing arts. BLT has a long track record of outreach activity relating itself to the Bangalore environment. One of the longest running programmes is the Summer Project on Theatre (SPOT). SPOT  is a workshop is modeled after the National Youth Theatre in the UK, but is obviously more limited in its scale. However, the inputs to the summer workshop are of the highest quality, drawing on the best available methodology. Although open to all interested (“from 16 to 60”), irrespective of prior experience in or aptitude for theatre activity. The workshop runs for three months and culminates in the annual theatre production. The year 2015 has two courses of SPOT, and will complete 30 programmes since its inception.

The founder of the workshops, Vijay Padaki, has a long involvement in training methodology in Management and Organizational Development. He has successfully hybridized training methods between the two spheres of theatre and management. BLT has trained trainers to disseminate theatre training more effectively. Customized theatre workshops from BLT are constantly in demand from colleges, schools, clubs, corporate bodies and other institutions. The participants are exposed to all aspects of a theatre production, including  the basics of acting technique and the many aspects of stagecraft, such as stage design, lighting, sound, sets, props, costumes, etc.  SPOT includes hands-on experience in play production, and culminates in public performances of a chosen play script. Sometimes even the play script is an original one by the SPOT team.

This year’s Summer Project culminates in the performance of an adaptation of the French absurd classic RHINOCEROS by Eugene Ionesco. Bangalore Little Theatre is one of the oldest cultural partners of Alliance Française de Bangalore. Since its inception in 1970 AF has had the association of BLT in several ways, both organizationally and in programme content. The production is a product of the continuing cultural partnership between Alliance Française and BLT.

The play RHINOCEROS is a comic comment on the forces of majoritarianism creeping into a society and the blind acceptance by members of the society.  Ionesco’s drama combines abstract philosophical ideas of the nature of human logic with down to earth humor about the way humans deceive themselves with rationalizations in the name of logic.  The deeper undercurrent question remains through the play: Can logic replace responsibility in society? From this arises the most important theme of the play, namely the place of individuality in society and the significance of individual responsibility. If the rhinoceros serves as a metaphor for people succumbing to a majoritarian tidal wave,  the play’s appeal to resist the wave with logic and responsibility is derived from the same metaphor.

In keeping  with many of the plays in the Theatre of the Absurd, RHINOCEROS is conscious of itself as a play, as when one of the characters suggests to another character that he should see one of Ionesco’s plays. It forces the audience to recognize the performance before them as a play and not as a diversion. Ionesco breaks the “fourth wall” of the theatre (and numerous other walls and structures explode in the play) to make the audience leave the theatre feeling that the absurdity they witnessed was somehow more real than a “realistic” play. Audiences will recognize the relevance of the play in today’s society immediately.

Dates: August 28, 29 and 30
Timings: 3:30 P.M and 7:00 P.M
Venue: Alliance Francaise de Bangalore
Admission Free,first-come-served. 
Cast and Crew 
Narrator 1 – TamannaWadehra,
Narrator 2- CharulKapilJean, Karan Manveer Singh
Berenger- Deepak Mote
Logician – Tania Robinson
Old Gent – Shiv Kumar
Waitress- SanjnaJagdeesh
Grocer – Swapnil Kumar Yadav
Grocer’s wife – Aarti Sharma Grocer’s wife- Neha Shrivastav Proprietor- Rabi Agrawal Housewife- Sampada G Daisy- SahanaSubramanyam Daisy – Sujata Guha
Little Old Man – Matu Agarwal
Papillon – Vijay Kumar S
Dudard- Shubham Srivastava
Botard- Harish Shivanna
Mrs Boeuf – Annie Acharya
Little Old Man – Matu Agarwal
Papillon – Vijay Kumar S
Dudard- Shubham Srivastava
Botard- Harish Shivanna
Mrs Boeuf – Annie Acharya
Backstage – Karan Manveer Singh, MatuAgarwal, DeepakMote , Shubham Srivastava, AdityeNair, Minti Jain , MurtazaKhetty,Joseph, Aslam
Costumes, Props, Stage management –TamannaWadehra, Priyalakshmi Rao
Lights – Minti Jain/Aditye Nair
Poster design – Deepak Mote
SPOT Trainers- Vijay Padaki, MurtuzaKhetty, Minti Jain, Priyalakshmi Rao, AmjadPrawej
Director – Abhishek Sundaravadanan
Assisted by – Vijay Padaki

World Theatre Day for Children

A celebration event was held in Bengaluru on Sunday,March 22. The celebration this year was unusual in more than one way. To start with, BLT had the National Gallery of Modern Art join the celebration by holding the event in their premises. Second, NGMA happened to open a prestigious exhibition at that time. It was the work of Jamini Roy, hailed as among the first of India’s painters in the modern-contemporary mould. The connection to Tagore and Santiniketan could not be missed. That led to the next important feature of this year’s celebration. With the kind permission of the curator Ms. Ella Datta (and enthusiastic support), we had groups of children doing unrehearsed storytelling before select paintings of Jamini Roy. The animated storytelling was right there in the gallery.

We had over a hundred children attending (another special feature of the 2015 celebration), along with parents or teachers. They listened to the highly imaginative tales in awe and with rapt attention. In two of the stories, the children created a tale from two adjacent paintings, as if they were part of the same story in the painter’s mind!

In addition to this there were songs, games, some storytelling and a film screening. The most pleasant surprise was the appearance of over a hundred children at NGMA in spite of the exam season! Something right happening!

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