April 25, 2017Uncategorized,Coming Up
After successfully conducting workshops across Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, DSM Open Day comes to Thane for the very first time!
Thane has traditionally been a place which cares about its arts and culture. And it is with the same love for the arts and theatre that DSM visits the city.
Get a chance to experience world-class training and know more about the Post Graduate Diploma in Acting and Theatre-making at The Drama School Mumbai during its Open Day Series which has already travelled to 3 other cities. Here leading theatre-makers, who also happen to be DSM faculty, will show you what students at the school are taught as a part of their training. This is an excellent opportunity for you to witness first hand what makes learning at The Drama School Mumbai the best stepping stone for a bright career in theatre. About the Facilitator:
Akshay Shimpi has a Masters of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the Mumbai University. Akshay is a well revered theatre-maker with over a decade of experience in the field. He is the faculty for Speech and Text at the DSM.
In over a decade of working in theatre and film, Akshay Shimpi has done more than 30 plays and 7 short films that have toured festivals across India. He performs in both Hindi and Marathi and has been part of productions like Naag-Mandal, Ghashiram Kotwal, Hayvadan and Ram Sanjeevani ki Premkatha. He received acclaim for his portrayal of freedom fighter Anant Kanhere in the Marathi film 1909. His recent work with Astitva, Agdeech Shoonya is currently touring across Maharashtra.
April 6, 2017Announcements and Interesting Events,Coming Up,DSM Blog
Dashanan is a solo performance. A single man on stage telling the story of Ravan. It is a story we all know. The story of Lanka’s demon king. But maybe not the whole story. We know the ten-headed demon for his greed and lust. But Ravan was also a great king – renowned for good governance. He was an accomplished warrior and a devotee of Shiva. This solo performance concentrates on the oft-missed colours and flavours of a myth. And the people in his life. Thus does this tale become a commentary of on the social and political conditions of today.
Pradeep Vaiddya has been working in theatre for over twenty years. He has been a writer, director, music composer, singer, light designer, theatre trainer and theatre manager. A household name in Pune, Pradeep was part of the India Theatre Forum’s first arts management programme. He has won a META for Best Light Design in 2007, 2011 & 2016. His founded Expression Lab that focuses on enabling new artists through solo performances.
Suyog has been working in experimental theatre for the past 6 years, mainly with Aasakta Kalamanch and Expression Lab.
Harish graduated from The Drama School Mumbai in 2013-14 and has since acted in several plays and films. Dashanan is his second solo performance @theDSM.
by TPPL Comms Official
April 6, 2017Coming Up,DSM Blog
March 21, 2017Coming Up,Upcoming Performances
Over the next 4 months, past students of The Drama School Mumbai will bring their performances back their school. This is a special feature of “Alumni@theDSM” season of performances. It is a choice selection of new performances by a new generation of theatre-makers who started their journey at the DSM. The first performance in this series is Chenda, a play devised by BeTaal.
BeTaal is a group of theatre enthusiasts who believe in the off-beat, the breaking of rhythm and going BeTaal. Vaishnavi Rp (2015-16) and Abhinav Grover (2014-15) founded this group last year. Thus far they have embarked on 3 projects: Chenda, Paanchvaali and Mere Abba Mughal-e-Azaam.
A Chenda is a South Indian cylindrical percussion instrument whose ends are covered, usually with animal’s skin. This instrument is famous for its loud and rigid sound. The first is a performance called Chenda which is about a folk artist who realizes that his dead cow’s soul has come into his Chenda. The play opened at Thespo last year. Playwright: Abhinav Grover
Crew: Vaishnavi Ratna Prashant, Seewant Kushal, Siddharth Raghuvanshi, Srinivas, Venu Madhav Bhatt, Rishabh Kanti.
Performance Duration: 60 mins
For tickets, click here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/chenda/ET00054995
For more details, call 9619336336 / mail firstname.lastname@example.org
March 6, 2017Coming Up,Upcoming Performances
After 24 weeks of intensive training with the finest theatre-makers in acting, speech, body movements and theatre lessons, Batch 2016-17 of The Drama School Mumbai is ready with its first performance for the masses in the form of “The Mule’s Foal.”
Based on the short novel by Fotini Epanomitis, and adapted by Australian playwright Alan Becher, The Mule’s Foal is a tale about love, longing, gossip and a village where nothing makes sense! Under the co-directorship of theatre-makers Puja Sarup and Sheena Khalid, the students of DSM showcase their theatre chops in this new Hindi translation by Neha Sharma. As a part of their curriculum, the students are given the opportunity to tour multiple cities with the production of the play.
“This is a show that is as much devised as it is scripted and in that sense the students have contributed so much to the creation of the show,” the directors said of this collaborative effort by the students of the DSM.
The show opened on the 4th and 5th of March at The Drama School Mumbai. Dates of the subsequent performances are given below. To book your tickets, do log on to bookmyshow.com.
7th March, 6:30pm – NCPA XP, Mumbai
11th March, 3:30pm – Ranga Shankara, Bangalore
11th March, 7:30pm – Ranga Shankara, Bangalore
26th March, 11am – Sudarshan Rangmanch, Pune
27th March, 6pm – Lalit Kala Kendra, Pune
1st April, 7pm – The Drama School Mumbai
8th April, 7pm – The Drama School Mumbai
15th April, 7pm – The Drama School Mumbai
16th April, 7pm – The Drama School Mumbai
March 6, 2017Coming Up,Upcoming Workshops
Want to make theatre your career? Well, look no further, because the DSM Open Day Series is HERE!
Get a chance to experience world-class training and know more about the Post Graduate Diploma in Acting and Theatre-making at The Drama School Mumbai during its Open Day Series which travels to 7 cities across the next 2 months. Here leading theatre-makers, who also happen to be DSM faculty, will show you what students at the school are taught as a part of their training. This is an excellent opportunity for you to witness first hand what makes learning at The Drama School Mumbai the best stepping stone for a bright career in theatre.
Oh, and the Open Day is completely FREE and open to all!
The Open Day campaign kicks off on the 11th of March with free workshops in Mumbai and Bangalore. If you’re in Mumbai, you have the opportunity to get 2 free sessions by Akshay Shimpi and Roo Jhala-Mclaughlin.
Akshay Shimpi is an alumni of the University of Mumbai Theatre Arts Department and has performed in various plays and short films. Roo graduated from the Oxford School of Drama, UK and specializes in Shakespeare and Theatre-in-Education. These are two workshops that will leave you breathless yet self-aware!
In Bangalore, the co-founder and co-convenor of The Drama School Mumbai himself is coming down to bring the rigour and intensity of the school through a 3 hour workshop in the foyer space of Ranga Shankara. Jehan, a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, has his Masters in Theatre Direction from Birkbeck, University of London. You can explore the idea of creating meaning onstage through moments of action with Jehan and also talk to him about how exactly does someone become a theatre professional in India.
Sign up for these right away, because these workshops do tend to fill up real fast! And if you can’t make it to Bangalore or Mumbai on the 11th, get in touch anyway and we’ll keep you posted about the next Open Day closest to you. Also, if you’d like to arrange for an open day in your city, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to work something out for you.
Call +919619336336 to block a spot right away!
March 6, 2017DSM Blog
Over the past few months a synchronized cacophony had taken over The Drama School Mumbai. The noisemakers do bear a grudging resemblance to the students of the DSM however, and the source of their choral equivocations is the DSM annual student production.
This year round, the students take on The Mule’s Foal, a play adapted by Alan Becher from an award-winning novel by Fotini Epanomitis – a story about families, love and the eternal joy of gossip.
The play opened to some serious bouts of hilarity on the 4th of March and gave us the opportunity to profile the women who have been working tirelessly for weeks to make it happen – Sheena Khalid and Puja Sarup the co-directors of the work and Sonal Kharade, the designing hand behind the curious costumes the students don for the show.
Sheena and Puja’s Mumbai-based theatre company Patchworks Ensemble is known to tackle the big issues through the funny bone. The company’s first production Ila based on a story by Devdutt Pattanaik is about a King who transforms into a female with the changing phases of the moon, while their outrageously entertaining Gentleman’s Club aka Tape explores drag kings of a fictional underground club in Mumbai. This narrative about negotiations with gender is also present in The Mule’s Foal, but Puja and Sheena don’t choose projects to make ‘statements’, it’s always the story that attracts them first. And for The Mule’s Foal, it wasn’t just the story, but the poetic spaces present in it. “These spaces are not about the profound monologues uttered, but the human moments in the play” says Puja, “and in the sheer velocity of lives that it depicts,” adds Sheena.
They believe in working with their actors as facilitators- allowing them to develop the project as much as perform it. “When one does devised work, one does not know where to attack. So we use a lot of movement and music as our basic starting point. In this way we first put it into the body before feeding on the text,” says Sheena. Despite the anecdotal nature of The Mule’s Foal, the directors initiated the DSM students into the play through the bodywork of its chorus before deconstructing its language. Even the script of the play, which has been translated into Hindi by Neha Sharma, is continuously being written and and re-written by the directors and students during rehearsals. “It is only on the floor that the rhythm of the scene can be known, where to pump it or chop it…” says Puja before demonstrating her point by fixing an imaginary machine with loose screws with her being the technician and the tool (with a complete audio soundtrack.)
The Mule’s Foal is the first production in which the duo have worked with actors-in-training.
When asked about this experience Sheena says, “The DSM students are very committed. When you come to a professional environment you are most probably working on multiple plays. But in drama school you are pushing yourself harder and longer for a single production. The directors feel they have learnt a lot from their students including how to squawk like a crow, and perfectionists that they are, they make multiple attempts to hit the right note while squawking for this interviewer’s benefit .
Sheena Khalid is a graduate of the London International School of Performing Arts and Puja from the Helikos International School of Theatre, Italy find theatre rewarding in all ways. Narrating an anecdote Puja says,“The first character that I played professionally on stage was of a blonde bimbo in Atul Kumar’s “Noises Off.” If the same part was for the screen, I would not have fit in. Theatre is the only space you can play anything and everything.”
When asked about the challenges of doing theatre as women Khalid explains, “I don’t think I can ever over-emphasize on how much of a community sense there is in theatre, that does not discriminate against gender at all, as opposed to other spaces of work. We have always had help.” She bangs the wooden table in front of her thrice for good luck.
It was in 2011 that Puja and Sheena first met at a Bunraku Puppet workshop and discovered a possibility for a collaboration. When asked what keeps them ‘patched’ together Sarup answers, “Our collective madness and desire to take risks with our work.” Then after a moment of retrospection, “Also I wouldn’t have done this on my own. Its way too much work.”
“Way too much thankless work,” adds Sheena with a laugh.
For Sonal Kharade the costume designer of The Mule’s Foal, working with the directors is familiar territory, having been part of their production It’s About Time which opened at NCPA’s Centrestage last December. “I love working with them,” says Sonal, “Woh dono kuch seedha nahi karte hai!” For the “bizarre” look of The Mule’s Foal she has gathered Turkish and Tribal prints of surrealistic vibrancy, that look straight out of a bohemian boutique. “Theatre has tight budgets but I like that challenge,” she says and reveals the location of her material sourcing – the lanes and bylanes of local markets like Mangaldas and Saroj in the city.
Sonal’s career as a costume designer had been accidental. A student of interior designing, she just loved being part of the production process in theatre. In 2009, when the costume designer of Geetanjali Kulkarni’s Ek Rikami Baju decided to quit the show mid-way, Sonal who was helping with the play was asked to fill in those shoes. The response to her work was so well appreciated that she went on to do more such projects. Today she designs costumes for several theatre companies in Mumbai and Pune including for directors like Manav Kaul and and Atul Kumar.
Sonal admits that as she had not formally studied costume designing understanding different body types was initially difficult for her. “I have learnt everything on the job,”she says. It is with this learned on-ground sense of aesthetics that she creates costumes like the blood red anarkali for Sanjukta Wagh, which was worn by the Kathak dancer on an outdoor stage against the backdrop of the sea. The New York Times described it as the most “ravishing outfit” of that evening at The Battery Dance Festival in New York.
Though Kharade works for commercials and films alongside theatre projects she finds the latter more fulfilling. “The actor spends so much time in his garment that one has to concentrate much more on its detailing and comfort,” she says while checking the stitching of a bold pink costume that opens up to form a dull grey piece, for a character in the play who has a dual role.
Puja, Sheena and Sonal have made the DSM student production into a piece of theatre that demands attention and provokes laughter in the midst of misery. They have of course been supported by a stellar team and the enthusiasm of the DSM students. The Mule’s Foal goes on tour this week, so do catch a show near you through March and April.
– Written by Payal Mohta
February 8, 2017Uncategorized,DSM Blog
Indian theatre is deeply rooted, not just in the traditions of Sanskrit Drama as explained in Bharata’s Natyashastra, but also very significantly in folk dance and music, as well as tribal rituals and ceremonies. Post the Victorian hangover there have been attempts by organisations like the Indian People’s Theatre Association, the Progressive Writer’s Association and the Youth Cultural Institute (none by the government) to rescue vernacular theatre from the shadow of the proscenium-based English Theatre. That is why we have put together a list of theatre spaces that mark the rural landscape of India, making theatre with the people from whom we have inherited the very language of theatre.
Naya Theatre evolved from Nacha, the Chhattisgarhi folk theatre. It is the legacy of the late PadmaShri Habib Tanvir. A graduate of the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, UK Tanvir established his own theatre troupe Naya Theatre in 1959 with handpicked folk artists in Bhopal. The artists of Naya Theatre spoke their own local dialect which eliminated any inhibition arising out of language and retained their particular dramatic skills which were often in opposition to English theatre training. For Tanvir the consideration of the sensibilities of the folk artists was an integral part of the creative process. A lot of research, from books, folk songs and conversations, and vigorous editing would go into creating the first draft of the plays. A report from Livemint states that for his play Bahadur Kalarin, on a son’s incestuous feelings for his mother, he chatted with people in Chhattisgarh on the topic before they were told the story of the play and asked to improvise dialogue and movements. Tanvir’s irrevocable conviction in the rich culture of Nacha and his commitment towards the folk community gave rise to milestones in Indian theatre like Charandas Chor, Gaon ka Naam Sasural, Mor Naam Damad and Kamdeo ka Apna Basant Ritu ka Sapna. Though Naya Theatre today is in need of new actors and plays, Tanvir’s daughter Nageen Tanvir is striving to carry on the troupe in all its vitality.
Kalakshetra Manipur (KKM) established in 1969 by the late stalwart Heisnam Kanhailal and his wife Sabitri as a space that presents “Theatre of the Earth”. In an interview with NEZINE Kanhailal explained the ideology behind this specific form of theatre, “….theatre must become a voice for the voiceless, a means that gives the power and strength to the disempowered to resist and take on the challenges.” These marginalised voices in Kanhailal’s plays are often non-actors of the oppressed communities themselves. New Theatre Quarterly 29 mentions three such productions – Nupi Lan (1989), Sanjennaha (1979) and Thanghou Leh Liandou (1980).
Nupi Lan (Women’s War) was created through improvisations with around 70 working women from the famous Women’s Market of Imphal. Images of women in the Manipuri Lai Haraoba (ritual celebrations), in the market haggling and those of surviving, militant Manipuri women in political agitations became the aesthetics of the play. In Sanjennaha (Cowherd) the plight of the actors ,who were villagers, was inextricably linked with the narrative of the exploited cowherd in the play. Thanghou Leh Liandou engaged the tribal youth of the Paite community, reminding them of a cultural heritage they were in the process of forgetting through imposed westernization. Kanhailal’s ardent commitment to devising a unique form of Manipuri theatre through silence and minimalism has given KKM a venerable reputation both nationally and internationally. As of the last decade KKM, which is located on the foothills of Imphal is moving out of its ethnic culture to the rural and natural environment of Assam and Tripura.
Nilakanteshwara Natyaseva Samgha, better known as Ninasam is Karnataka’s cultural powerhouse located deep in the hinterland of the state’s Heggodu village. Established in 1949, this brainchild of renowned dramatist and Magsaysay award winner, K. V. Subbanna is dedicated to the dissemination of theatre and culture. Evolving from a small amateur theatre troupe, today Ninasam has a one year diploma course in theatre with emphasis on working in non-urban conditions. Its impressive infrastructure consists of a one of a kind 700 seat auditorium, its only kind in rural India, for the performance of various art forms. Almost 80% of its past students are active in non-commercial theatre and cultural activities, while aspiring students from across class, caste and gender come from all corners of Karnataka to Ninasam. Its theatre group Tirugata, completely localized, performs almost 120 shows each year, to an estimated of 20 lakh people covering almost all districts of Karnataka. According to a report by the The Hindu some of the biggest names in theatre from B.V. Karnath to Fritz Bennewitz have directed Ninasam productions. Ooru Mane Utsava is the organisation’s theatre and culture festival that involves villagers from all around Heggodu. The theatre activities at Ninasam only form a minuscule part of the sum of its cultural activities ranging from film appreciation courses, intellectual debates on the cultural politics of Karnataka and a 7-10 day long workshop on cultural appreciation. The participants for this event forms a daunting figure of 2000 people including students, teachers, rural cultural activists, journalists, housewives as well as thinkers, intellectuals and artists from all over the country. What makes Ninasam remarkable is that it has single-handedly enriched and empowered the cultural topography of rural Karnataka, becoming a model of inspiration for the rest of the country.
The students of The Drama School, Mumbai is set to do a week-long residency at Ninasam in this March and hope to breathe in some of this visionary work.
The Kattaikkuttu Sangam formed in 1990, is an organisation that integrates liberal education and the performing arts with an aim to promote and contemporize the art of Kattaikkuttu – the theatre of the rural people in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. Based in the small village of Punjarasantankal, Kattaikkuttu Sangam is the only residential school for Kattaikkuttu. The Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam (Youth Theatre School) of the Sangam offers a training course in Kattaikkuttu for young rural Tamil boys and girls while providing them support to become professionals in the ancient art form. The students can also join the organisation’s theatre companies- The Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals, All Girls Company and The Junior Company. The Annual Kattaikkuttu Theatre Festival of the organisation brings Kattaikkuttu to local audiences, urban theatre enthusiasts, scholars and tourists. Kattaikkuttu Sangam is an indispensable theatre organ for the country for it has become a platform for folk artists to get together from all parts of Tamil Nadu and revive this dying theatre of Kattaikkuttu.
The centuries old theatre tradition of Karnataka- Yakshagana is what the Yakshagana Kendra in Udupi strives to keep alive. Steeped in Indian mythology, Yakshagana is a vibrant blend of folk and classical modes with ornate forms of costume and make-up. To promote Yakshagana on various levels the Kendra offers a residential programme that combines formal education along with training in Yakshagana, while its troupe Yaksha Ranga consists of almost 100 artists that engage in local and national performances. It also also acts as a center of research and documentation for Yakshagana by publishing books on it.
While doing research for this article, we were hard-pressed to find examples of such organizations. If any of our readers do know of some we should have covered, please do write in and we’ll do our best to include them. Because, in a world that is threateningly being consumed by a homogenizing global culture these organisations act as preservers and re-inventors of indigenous art forms. Which then allows theatre to become a people’s channel through the ages.
February 8, 2017Uncategorized,Announcements and Interesting Events,Coming Up,Upcoming Performances
Shadows Of Fire is a solo performance that emerged from Butoh. It delves into the subconscious of the body and mind and tries to call out to the fire hidden within us. This fire physically has no shadow, but emerges every time it is evoked. This piece explores the birth of an untamed creature, its growth and its play with the different elements found in nature. It looks for freedom from all these, with help from the balance of the ambers and blues in a body, but gets stuck in a dilemma of energy. Does it escape the cacophony of the watchful eyes or does it perish? The question remains answered. Shadows Of Fire has been inspired by Naireet’s body-watching and exploration of the elements in the body that were realized into a dramatic piece while practicing Butoh. A highly interpretative piece, he expects audiences (and himself) to be “surprised” each time with the energies of the performance.
Click here for a glimpse of Shadows Of Fire at the Butoh Festival at Mcleodjang, Himachal in May 2016.
Naireet is a theatre-maker and performer whose primary interest is in telling stories through moving body images. He has trained intensively in Kalaripayatu and Butoh and worked with Clowning, Tai-chi, Kudiyattam, contemporary dance and various other theatre-making forms. He has been involved with Children’s Theatre both as an actor and director in Kolkata. Last year he directed Love Circus – a six actor movement performance piece in Kolkata.
Date: 25th Feb
Time: 7 PM
Cost: Rs 200/- per ticket
Venue: 5th Floor, Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, Dr Bhalerao Marg, Charni Road Kele Wadi, Mumbai-400002
Call 9619336336 for details