AGENTS OF CHANGE | Verve Journal


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Textual content by Ranjabati Das. Images by Ali Monis Naqvi. Artwork Course and Styling by Akanksha Pandey. Hair and Make-Up by Seerath Sheik Shabbir; assisted by Dixita Dhargalkar.

1. On Vibhav Sawant (Oberon): internet costume and ball, from Savio Jon.
2. On Shreya Mukund Prabhu (Hermia): dome physique costume, from Quod; bandhni scarf, from Savio Jon.
3. On Prajakta Kavlekar (Titania): high with field pleats, from Idiot Dost; front-zipped black skirt, from Margn; purple handloom scarf (tucked into the skirt), from Sirohi; inexperienced yoga gear (used as sash), stylist’s personal.
4. On Keatan Jadhav (Demitrius): entrance knot shirt, from WIP Clothes; carved picket face, from Savio Jon.
5. Mandar Jog (Puck)
6. On Pranav Tengse (Nick Backside): jacket made out of recycled textile, from Dyelog; striped deconstructed pants with belt, from Savio Jon.

When Keatan Jadhav co-founded Theatre Flamingo (TF) in 2017 — not lengthy after he accomplished his grasp’s in theatre from the Centre for Performing Arts at Savitribai Phule Pune College (popularly often known as Lalit Kala Kendra) — it was with the categorical motive of increasing the area for theatre in Goa and cultivating it from the bottom up. The troupe took flight with 10 graduates of the establishment banding collectively, to create an intimate theatre expertise that, for essentially the most half, stays directed at those that are situated outdoors city narratives. A way of goal powers their ardour for theatre, each verbal and non-verbal, and at its coronary heart lies the motivation to coach and strengthen native communities, notably youthful members. “Grassroots theatre is tough because the monetary returns are unsure. We have to work out the funds as the concept of theatre for folks is necessary in right now’s instances,” notes actor Mandar Jog.

Like the massive pink migratory chook it’s named after, Theatre Flamingo has a penchant for journey, seeing that it opened its act as an itinerant theatre group. The very first initiative entailed performing for distant communities within the interiors of Maharashtra on a pay-as-you-like foundation, the place their predominant goal was to impact change and create social affect. After overlaying 4,700 kilometres in 17 days, they selected to maneuver base to Canacona, as an alternative of extra profitable cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the place theatre has a prepared viewers. In Goa, the place most hail from, they try to empower marginalised teams located throughout the state. Intermittently, additionally they cross over to cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru in neighbouring states with their artwork.

Their Konkani- and Marathi-language play Hattamalachya Palyad, tailored from playwright, director and actor Badal Sircar’s Hattamalar Oparey (Past The Land Of Hattamala), displays this anti-capitalist perception system. Rooted in his Marxist ideologies, Sircar sought to convey the viewers head to head with an egalitarian utopia of a world the place cash has no foreign money. This fictitious land lies in distinction to the capitalistic land of Hattamala the place, very similar to the world we inhabit, the inclination in the direction of consumerism is all-consuming.

Between rehearsals for Mukbhat, their adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Verve talks to 3 members about their model of experimental theatre, their dedication to their chosen medium of expression and the way they navigate caste, faith and cultural norms when adapting performs to native contexts.

Excerpts from the conversations…

Handloom cotton pants, from Wunderhaus.

Keatan Jadhav, 30
Hometown: Canacona
Co-founder, Inventive Director and Actor

What does your position at Theatre Flamingo embody?
I act, write, direct and work as administration head. I additionally act as a mother or father for the crew members infrequently.

The place do you get your funding from?
We organise the annual Canacona Theatre Pageant, which promotes regional and modern theatre and occurs each Might in Poinguinim village in commemoration of Badal Sircar’s demise anniversary. For this, we now have secured funding from folks across the village in Canacona taluka. They assist us not solely monetarily but additionally by donating rice, oil, coconut, and so forth. It’s open to all and final 12 months, it showcased a various vary of storytelling kinds, starting from Marathi dastangoi and musical satires to the Rajasthani kavad artwork.

1. Left to proper — On Mandar Jog: dice rubber jacket, from Bloni; peplum skirt, from Rajesh Pratap Singh, blue stockings, stylist’s personal. On Keatan Jadhav: crochet kimono jacket, from Bloni; panelled trousers, from Margn.

How did you seize the essence of Demetrius for the shoot?
Demetrius displays a fickle nature. His annoyance with Helena illustrates his distinctive traits; earlier than being charmed in Act II, he even threatens her with bodily hurt. And to start with of the play, his consideration strikes from Helena to Hermia fairly swiftly. Demetrius represents the fragile steadiness between love and hate. I needed to emphasize the distinction between these feelings to focus on his unpredictable nature.

Portraying his behavioural patterns by way of poses was new for me. I targeted on physicality and physique language. I made use of the latter to replicate the altering feelings and attitudes of Demetrius. I present that he’s in love through the use of an open and alluring posture, and with gestures that convey heat and affection. I undertake closed-off physique language, corresponding to crossed arms and defensive postures, to convey that he has fallen out of affection.

Clockwise from left — On Prajakta Kavlekar: handmade organza flower and corded costume, from Vaishali S. On Keatan Jadhav: hand-painted shirt and pants in pure tones, each from Asaii. On Shreya Mukund Prabhu: silk high, from Rajesh Pratap Singh; organza skirt, from Vaishali S. On Vibhav Sawant: jumpsuit, from Rajesh Pratap Singh; headgear, from Valliyan. On Shiv Pranav Damodar Alavani: silver brocade jacket, from Rajesh Pratap Singh; handwoven tussar boxer shorts, from Idiot Dost.

Why did Flamingo choose to stage A Midsummer Night time’s Dream? The forged members are in character for the shoot...
A Midsummer Night time’s Dream is a comedy that explores thwarted love, love that’s deserted, love that’s redeemed, and extra. We’re at present prepping for it and will probably be staged in 2024-’25. I can relate to it due to its universality. The play delves into the complexities of relationships and demonstrates the transformative energy of affection, which is usually a supply of pleasure and fulfilment.

Nevertheless, it might probably additionally convey confusion, heartbreak and sudden twists. A Midsummer Night time’s Dream captures these points of affection by way of its comedic lens, offering a relatable portrayal of the ups and downs in romantic relationships. The themes of forgiveness and private development can provide hope and inspiration. One can discover solace in the truth that the complexities of affection are a shared human expertise.

How does Goa play into the type of work that Flamingo does?
In contrast to different cities like Mumbai and Pune, the residents of Goa shouldn’t have the tendency to pay for theatre apart from maybe Panjim or Margao. Tiatr — a type of musical theatre that’s in style within the state and practised by the Catholic neighborhood — has its personal viewers.

But when you must develop your forest land into cultivation fields for future generations, you must begin from scratch. Equally, Theatre Flamingo seems to domesticate an area for theatre in Goa from the bottom up.

Additionally, inform us about taking the extra unconventional route of doing theatre in villages as an alternative of shifting to larger cities that will provide higher prospects.
“How can theatre feed you?” “How will you rely upon it as a livelihood for a lifetime?” “Don’t gamble your life away doing theatre.” The taunts coming from my circle of relatives made me assume, “Why am I finding out theatre? What does it imply to us…our lives?” After I confronted this query upfront, I believed I may discover solutions by constructing Theatre Flamingo…. It got here from inside. I believed, “Let’s go for it!”

Alternatives have been sparse. However being a theatre artiste, I didn’t need to depart my medium and this was the set off for launching our start-up.

From an early age, I used to be very motivated to unfold the artwork of theatre in each nook and nook of the villages in Goa and I’ve been extremely impressed by my guru, theatre artiste Vijaykumar Naik, who based the Goa-based Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal that’s been producing experimental theatre since 1950.

Is adapting a play to herald the native context a tough job — in circumstances the place the play is from a unique a part of the nation or the world? Are you able to inform us about among the performs which have been tailored by your crew?
I’ve tailored Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Konkani. Additionally, Molière’s Tartuffe in Hindi. Fairly often, the play has its personal cultural references and after I work as a director on the scripts, I attempt to conceive and see the script by way of my very own cultural lens. I really feel theatre occurs when there’s a query and a personality’s position on stage is to search out the solutions, whether or not it’s a tragedy or comedy or any style. Engaged on a play can be about performative analysis on the problems.

Practising theatre is about taking note of different folks. And that is the idea of the ethics right here. Theatre is constructed on observing the actions of different human beings. This implies placing your self in others’ footwear. Exercising the power to know what it means to be another person. And the extra you train empathy, the much less you’ll be able to harm others or disagree with somebody’s opinion. Additionally, performs typically replicate society. So, obstacles confronted by the characters in any play have the facility to attraction to the viewers, no matter the place and when that play has been written.

We now have learn that you just’re on a quest to develop an appearing strategy utilizing physique, feelings and voice in your TF Actors Lab. And on this, you’ve included the Butoh approach. Are you able to inform us extra? What’s the lab all about?
I make use of theatre analysis and the intricacies of the craft of appearing to supply sensible recommendation to skilled and aspiring actors alike. In my appearing profession, I’m pushed by a agency perception in rigorous coaching. You see engineers, docs and scientists undergo this type of coaching often — and, because of this, additionally they get the area and alternative to good their strategies after their school training. On this appearing strategy, which I name the Scaffolding Methodology, the aim is to good one’s physique to such a level that it turns into able to all necessities for the stage. So begins the journey to turn out to be an athlete of feelings that permits one to pursue any creative duties. We offer the general coaching to our our bodies, voices and creativeness, by way of deep experimentation with oneself.

You developed the Ghumchye Kattar Theatre challenge in 2018, to encourage kids to learn. It’s stated to have reached 13,000 kids. What drew you in the direction of this endeavour?
My college didn’t have a library and so I didn’t get a lot entry to books. However my academics would scold me for not studying books. This shouldn’t be the best way to deal with the state of affairs. So I designed a challenge referred to as Ghumchye Kattar Theatre the place, by way of theatre, we encourage kids to develop an affinity in the direction of studying books.

Tales, storytelling, enacting…they’ve the facility to achieve inside us, command feelings, compel involvement. Tales present us with sensible perception into approaches we are able to take on the subject of our most persistent environmental difficulties. We deliberate actions round this concept; therefore, this folk-based theatrical enterprise known as Ghumchye Kattar Theatre or “the storytelling journey”.

Ghumchye Kattar Theatre is a nine-month-long theatre programme directed at tribal areas. The theatre-based interactive tales encourage one to construct listening abilities and pushes ones in the direction of teamwork and artistic writing. Its goal is to assist construct confidence, increase shallowness and develop creativeness.

The selection of tales is pushed by their capability to develop emotional literacy and improve kids’s capability for empathy. Utilizing stay and interactive theatre, we invite and encourage younger folks to consider their selections and the results of their actions on the setting in a humorous and interesting means.

You acted within the quick movie, A Chilly Summer season Night time, which was formally chosen for Locarno Movie Pageant, Busan Worldwide Movie Pageant, and a whopping 33 different nationwide and worldwide movie festivals. It offers with the migrant difficulty in Goa. What are your ideas on the surge of individuals shifting to Goa lately?
Migration is a life-style and a serious behaviour of our society or any society on this planet. Most nonetheless can’t discover a passable area to stay a sustainable life simply. However on this situation, if you happen to turn out to be an outsider or society makes you an outcast, it’s an issue and it’s painful. I’ve gone by way of this, as my father is a Maharashtrian. So I’ve felt judged and the vitality I’ve felt at instances could be very unnatural.

1. Foreground — On Vibhav Sawant: rubber sculpted costume, from Bloni. Background — On Prajakta Kavlekar: black robe with elongated pink sleeve particulars, from Rajesh Pratap Singh; inexperienced shibori high (used as scarf), from Studio Medium.
2. On Mandar Jog: blue stockings, stylist’s personal.

How has the viewers modified in Goa over time? How does the situation affect you as an artiste?
Earlier, I needed to showcase my work in Pune, Mumbai, and so forth. the place I can get a theatre-going viewers. However these days I need to do theatre in my hometown of Canacona and I progressively need to construct my very own viewers. Typically, I really feel apprehensive of the experimental theatre I practise at TF Actors Lab in Goa as a result of we shouldn’t have an viewers. However the situation has been altering slowly. The viewers has been welcoming of the brand new vocabulary of efficiency that they’ve witnessed of late.

Mukbhat is the newest Shakespearean play tailored by Theatre Flamingo….
We opened our adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Ponda earlier this 12 months. We now have been engaged on Mukbhat since final 12 months. It’s an experimental play that makes use of fashionable theatrical instruments and blends them with conventional practices to create a up to date narrative that raises questions on gender politics, temple politics and caste hierarchies in Goan villages. The play exhibits how every character right here is entrenched in caste, faith and cultural norms.

The play centres round Mukhel-Bhat and his spouse Annapurna’s dehumanising behaviour in the direction of their adopted son Mukbhat. In the end, it makes him kill his dad and mom. Mukbhat invitations the viewers to expertise the roots of stifled ambition, unfulfilled want and supreme loss. Now, we’re searching for theatre festivals in and outdoors India.

Do you like verbal or non-verbal performs — since you’ve labored with each?
Initially, after I began out, I used to be motivated by scripts, however after a degree, I began moving into non-verbal bodily theatre, as a result of language can’t say as a lot as our feelings and actions can.

Inform us a couple of favorite non-verbal Theatre Flamingo efficiency….
Moments In Actions is a efficiency by a naked physique smeared with colors. The physique presses, drags and lays the colors throughout canvases to create bodily impressions. This piece was carried out within the pinewood jungle of Galgibaga, South Goa, in January 2022. The piece refers back to the portray practices of Jackson Pollock, who would pour and drip paint onto his canvases. This efficiency takes spectators of the bodily ingredient of portray even additional by including an viewers member and utilizing the human physique to unfold the paint. In utilising the physique as a respiratory paintbrush, performer Amodi Sanap challenges viewers’ expectations in regards to the cultural course of of making artwork. By incorporating the human physique into the act of making artwork, the performer will give the performativity of the physique an unprecedented privilege inside its discourse. This efficiency makes an affiliation between nature, human pores and skin, color, canvas and literature. The performer makes use of the method of improvisation by way of which she focuses extra on spontaneity, impulses and the sensation of the colors’ texture on the pores and skin.

What’s subsequent for Theatre Flamingo?
We aspire to have our personal drama college and a repertoire firm in Goa by way of which we are able to stage experimental performs, kids’s theatre, toddler theatre, utilized theatre, and so forth. We are going to proceed our youngsters’s theatre challenge from June to March. We are going to concentrate on travelling with our theatre group from March to Might. And the Canacona Theatre Pageant will take priority in Might.

Mandar Jog, 37
Hometown: Ponda

What stood out for you on the subject of Puck, the character you’ll play on stage for Theatre Flamingo’s manufacturing of A Midsummer Night time’s Dream?
Till this level, I had by no means tried my arms at comedy. Exploring a brand new character and, notably, the mischievous nature of the character by correlating it to real-life examples was an attention-grabbing expertise for me.

The professionals and cons of being a part of a travelling theatre group?
The professionals would come with the chance to journey and discover new locations and areas that improve my expertise as an actor in addition to a human. Additionally, it helps me to know and get in tune with my fellow crew members which, in flip, impacts us immensely on stage.

There aren’t any cons as corresponding to of now for me. However, at instances, the journey takes a toll in your physique. And there are days that make you look away from the duty at hand merely due to the uncertainty in our discipline, say, when it comes to the viewers turnout or the reception.

What are among the methods that the crew has innovated collectively? What labored and what didn’t work over time?
We’re consistently within the strategy of discovering new methods to achieve our viewers and construct a constant turnout for our performances, and it’s all the time a roller-coaster trip. Our newest observe of performing in cafes in Goa is choosing up slowly. This interview is a results of one such efficiency — Jamun Ka Ped, The Jamun Tree at Saraya Cafe in Sangolda in North Goa — so I might say this technique helps us develop.

Do you assume that A Midsummer Night time’s Dream resonates with the youthful generations?
The play has every thing in it. It has themes of affection and relationships, identification and gender, fantasy and escapism, youth and rise up, humour and leisure, and in addition theatricality and efficiency. And all these subjects are evergreen subjects. So for me, this play is an evergreen play that may work in all ages and contexts. It resonates with youthful generations and can do the identical with future generations as nicely.

Would you agree that whereas mainstream Indian movies are creating “pan-Indian” blockbusters in an effort to get an even bigger piece of the pie, you’re on the reverse finish of the spectrum: taking and even introducing theatre to folks within the remotest of villages?
Whereas mainstream Indian movies concentrate on reaching a large viewers to attain industrial success, theatre teams like ours are attempting to prioritise cultural outreach, social affect and neighborhood engagement. We purpose to convey the transformative energy of theatre to folks in distant and sometimes marginalised communities. Each approaches play important roles in enriching cultural experiences and expressions in India.

Native contexts are sometimes included into the performs. Are you able to share an instance of the identical together with the core intent?
We reimagined A Midsummer Night time’s Dream in a Goan context. I really feel the incorporation of native tradition within the play makes the content material extra relatable and entertaining.

What languages are your performs in?
In our performs, we communicate in Marathi and Konkani, each of that are equally prevalent in Goa. The flavour of the language adjustments from Pernem to Canacona, thereby giving it a extra intricate color of the neighborhood. We now have additionally used Hindi and English. We, as actors, are by no means sure by language; if there’s a want to include a dialect of a selected locale we do ensure that we work on it.

Your tackle grassroots theatre, theatre for the folks?
It’s tough because the monetary returns within the course of are unsure. We have to work out the funds as the concept of theatre for folks is necessary in right now’s instances.

Prajakta Kavlekar, 28
Hometown: Ponda

What does your position at Theatre Flamingo embody?
I’m an actor and I’ve been one of many core members of the group because it was based in 2017. I’ve designed costumes for all of the performs apart from the newest one, Mukbhat. I additionally assist Keatan [Jadhav] with the administration and advertising selections.

In accordance with you, why do Shakespearean performs work within the present instances?
These are traditional performs, and we nonetheless discover them to be extraordinarily related. The resemblances to actual life are putting.

Inform us about how productions take form at Theatre Flamingo?
Whoever needs to direct a play talks to everybody within the crew about it. We now have a dialogue round why they need to do that specific play and the way they’re planning to execute the entire course of, after which, in keeping with everybody’s schedule, we begin the method. It’s not anybody particular person’s name — it’s a very collaborative course of.

Kala cotton patchwork jacket, from WIP Clothes.

What’s your favorite Flamingo efficiency and why?
I’ve two! One is Dumb Indignation, a non-verbal solo efficiency directed by Keatan Jadhav and carried out by Amodi Sanap. I’ve been a part of this manufacturing since day one and each time I see this efficiency — it has been staged 47 instances until now — I discover the director and actor including one thing new to the present. The second is Hattamalachya Palyad, the place I play 12 characters. Even after 40 exhibits, we nonetheless provide you with new concepts throughout rehearsals.

You performed a toddler, an outdated lady and varied others in Hattamalachya Palyad, Theatre Flamingo’s adaptation of Badal Sircar’s anti-establishment play Hattamalar Opare (Past the Land of Hattamala)….
I like experimenting with characters and this is the reason I took on Hattamalachya as a problem. I really feel I’m excellent at portraying lifelike characters. Nevertheless, the characters in Hattamalachya are a little bit of a caricature. It was additionally tough for me as I needed to play 12 characters. There was no make-up and never a lot distinction in costume — say, only a sash or a single ingredient that modified with the characters. I needed to discover 12 completely different walks and voices — starting from a younger boy to a 60-year-old grandmother. There have been a whole lot of elements that I had to remember. For instance, this play is occurring in a land the place there isn’t a idea of cash — how will folks resolve what’s happiness and what’s work, and what do they anticipate in return if there isn’t a cash.

I wasn’t positive how it might end up till the primary present. I can’t take all of the credit score for growing these completely different characters — my co-actors are equally deserving of reward for constructing a few of these. For this one, we additionally collaborated with 25-year-old Marathi writer-translator-actor, Aniruddha Deodhar, considered one of our juniors at Lalit Kala Kendra in Pune. He translated the Bengali play into Marathi for us.

You’re employed in serials in addition to experimental theatre — the 2 appear poles aside.
They serve completely different functions for me. One is only a supply of earnings whereas the opposite displays my deep love and fervour in the direction of artwork and creativity. I used to be a part of the performing arts school in a school at Ponda however have not too long ago shifted to Mumbai to work as a fancy dress designer and casting director. I did just a few serials final 12 months whereas I used to be doing Hattamalachya — just like the Marathi Raja Rani Chi Ga Jodi and Sukh Mhanje Nakki Kay Asta. The plan is to get forged in a movie or an online collection in an effort to earn some cash earlier than I’m going again to my state and troupe.