When you think of the word play or theater what comes to our mind is great content, presented in a linear manner and we as audiences sit and watch what unfolds, a passive interaction with what is happening. In such a case the audience is involved in as much as the story unfolding in front of us lets us be. There is always a wall between the stage and the audience.
What if we were a part of the story, what if the play was not the same every time you watched it? What if the play changed based upon its audience, story and the stage it is playing at. The possibilities of telling a story them become infinite. This is what experimental theater aims at, breaking the fourth wall and involving the audience as much as they can.
My first brush with Experimental Theater happened when I saw a show of Janata Raja (Written by: Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare), The widely acclaimed and successful play based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj. When those horses trotted up where the audience was sitting, and moved right passed me, I felt that I was a part of that era, the story being told. After that I saw Sahi Re Sahi (Written & Directed by : Kedar Shinde) another Marathi play, where famously you never knew how the play would end, until you actually saw it.
Today the experiments with experimental theater are many and range from, involving the audience, to changing the play based on location, to talking to rather than at the audience. Daniel Bye, said in a panel discussion that I attended that he even acknowledges sneezes in the audience and will say a “bless you” before moving on.
When Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour wrote White Rabbit Red Rabbit, he created a sensation not only in the world of experimental Theater but in the world of storytelling in general. A play that the Actor has not read before they go on stage, and open a sealed envelope to themselves find out what it is makes the play decidedly different.
As an audience Experimental Theater makes plays an experience not just a viewing. And Mumbai you have a chance to have this experience this weekend. The Elephant Journey presented in India by Anvarat Theaters Mumbai is playing at G5A in Mahalaxmi on the 14th of January at 7:30 PM. The play is directed by Kulvinder Bakshish who has also directed Karna and Mohenjo-daro .
The play, originally called Il lungo cammino degli elefanti was written by Gaspare Dori, and staged for the first time in Turin, Italy, in July 2002 and has gained a lot of acclaim globally since then. It has been staged in various countries (Italy, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia), and has been translated into English as well as Armenian. Gaspare Dori was awarded the Oddone Cappellino for this play.
The Elephant Journey will make you think about destiny and fate and the existence of a higher power. The story of people, destinies and relationships told through two people re-incarnating in different eras, that is what The Elephants Journey is. Do they abide by fate’s rule that they be together or grow apart by their differences? What the play to find out.
THE ELEPHANT JOURNEY
Writer: Gaspare Dori
Director : Kulvinder Bhakshish
Cast: Ashmita Jaggi, Mridul Sharma and Chirag Lobo
Tickets : Available here
This post has been written in association with Entertainment Diaries.