New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Theatre will always stay relevant as artistes nurture an “invisible connection” with their audience in a live setting, something that’s not possible with cinema or OTT, says veteran director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry.
Cinema and OTT platforms may be better funded and offer entertainment on the go, but Chowdhry hoped that with new players like Aadyam and Bhoomija Trust entering the space, things will change for theatre as well.
“The theatre will always remain popular and relevant as it has a live actor and a live audience and the invisible connection they make during a performance… Funding is at the crux of this disparity. With new players entering this space, hopefully things may change,” she told PTI in an interview.
In a career spanning nearly five decades, Chowdhry has adapted greatest of the plays and writers for the stage including Shakespeare, Jean Giraudoux and Girish Karnad.
The 72-year-old is currently directing ‘Hayavadana’, a modern Indian classic by Karnad for Aadyam, a theatre initiative by Aditya Birla Group.
The Kannada play, translated into Hindi by BV Karanth, combines myth and folktale and explores notions of individuality, freedom, gender politics, and feminism through the story of two men who fall for the same woman. In the mix is also a man with the head of a horse.
Karnad’s 1971 two-act play is based on ‘Kathasaritsagara’ and Thomas Mann’s ‘Transposed Heads’.
The play has remained relevant even after five decades as it deals with issues fundamental to human existence, Chowdhry said.
“’Hayavadana’ and ‘Ghasiram Kotwal’ (by Vijay Tendulkar) are classics of Modern Indian playwriting as they deal with issues fundamental to human existence: love, hate, jealousy, power, and desire… which makes the text travel through time and space and not seem dated. A classic written by Shakespeare and Chekov will always remain relevant, as they offer multiple ways of ‘seeing’ the world,” the Padma Shri awardee said.
She added that ‘Hayavadana’ is a fascinating text, where animate and inanimate characters interact without contradiction or euphemism.
“A horse that speaks, and a chorus of dolls that comment on the unfolding events, are magical devices. The play talks about duality, desire and identity; philosophical and metaphorical questions that have always assailed mankind. To make a text that is dense, communicable and relevant was a challenge,” she said.
On a question about the new generation of theatre artistes and how they compare with the greats of the craft, Chowdhry said art is hard and every generation has its own struggle with getting to the core of their character.
“Actors are special people. To go on the stage and share your deepest, most private experiences to an audience of strangers, requires courage and conviction.
“To make the private, public and to show ‘solitude’ in public is a temperament seen in sages. Actors of each generation struggle to get to the core of the character, and they are all alert to the reality that Art is hard,” she said.
Aadyam will stage ‘Hayavadana’ at Kamani Auditorium on April 1 at 7:30 pm and April 2 at 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm. PTI MAH BK BK
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Source: The Print