June 16th at 7:30 pm entrance: Free
-Necropolis: rehearsing Koltes in such times
A performance collaboration by Best of Kolkata Campus in association with Five Issues
dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Solo performance, Direction and dramaturgy: Parnab Mukherjee
Duration: 65 minutes without any intermission
Inspired from a poem of Nirmaldendu Goon Thangjam Ibopishak and In the Solitude of Cottonfields by Bernard Marie Koltes
Additional text: Manto, Hijam Irabot, Saratchand Thiyam, Rajkumar Bhubonsana, Bhaskar Chakraborty, Rabindranath Tagore and Mishing and Kokbork proverbs
Collaboration: Gautam Bajoria and Five Issues
Necropolis is a part of a three part repertoire called The Trilogy of Unrest, the first two being Hamletmachine: Images of Shakespeare-in-us and an installation performance with a series of visual artistes called This room is not my room.
The repertoire has toured the north-east, Siliguri, Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai. The touring performance will culminate in the release of a special commemorative edition of Five Issues on Indian theatre and subversions-dedicated to Badal Sircar, Vijay Tendulkar, Bishnu Rabha, Ranjabati Chaki Sircar, Chandrasekhar and Arambam Samarendra.
Necropolis has opened three international events: the prestigeous Amnesty International Festival on the 60th year Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 5, 2008 at the India Islamic Centre in New Delhi, the 9th conference of Comparitive Literature Association of India at the Hyderabad Central University on January 27, 2009 and the first Patumthani International Festival in Bangkok orgsnised by Mordokmai theatre group(the show was held on February1, 2009 at the Supreme Artist Hall-Patumathani . The production has also closed two important festivals. It has been the final event at the Chhobi Mela V-an International Festival of Photography organised by Drik at Dhaka and the inaugural Awami theatre festival organised by Awam Jaipur on March 23, 2009.
The production has completed more than 30 shows and will be touring East Timor, Singapore and Bali on May 2009.
Two men meet on the street. They have to make a deal. Or rather they want to make a deal. One has something to sell and the other needs something to buy. The Dealer is unsure what to peddle or would he want to peddle anything in the first place. The Client knows what he has to buy but does not know exactly what to. A cat and mouse game begins between these nameless, faceless, shapeshifters who have to make a transaction which they are not sure why would make. For the next chunk of minutes they indulge in selling and buying of concepts without transacting anything. But they did make a deal.
What are they selling? Or rather who is buying? Are technology, displacement, memories of a genocide the new road-map of the new universe. Are we such theoretical creatures that we have lost the power to engage with real issues and provide a balm to the displaced, destitute, fried, barbecued, roasted human-folk?
More often than not we are groping for words to describe routine violence. Routine cases of racial profiling. Of exclusion. Grappling with stereotypes. Cliches. Biases on the basis of human rights. Unethical treatment of workers by the globalised companies running roughshod over localised needs, the culture of building dams and more dams, refusal to discuss the politics of the body. Biases on the basis of sexual orientation.
We are looking at images and we think either they supplement the words or complement them. Is image only a memory tool? Is it just a visual metaphor? Is it just to learn things by heart? By rote? What is a performance? Merely a text or an improvisation or?a series?of theatre exercises which are prescribed as typical workshop methods? The performance probes into the image -word relationship?gets into the rationale of images…
What images are we looking at? Nelllie-Morichjhaanpi, Malom, Mokokchung, Arrest of Binayak Sen in Chattisgarh….What was the process of transforming the “us” into “them”…..How are “they” celebrating diversity and “their” culturalness in these times? The performance negotiates these terrains. By the time the performance ends nobody has bought, nobody has sold.
Yet those two individuals have transformed themselves enough to be probably up for sale. As the next set of clients gatecrash into the narrative.
Or do we end up being commodities showcased in the glass windows for the global window shopping….and all this happens while we are window-shopping ourselves.
About the Director:
An independent media analyst and a performance consultant by profession, Mr. Parnab Mukherjee is one of the leading alternative theatre directors’ of the country. He divides his time between Kolkata, Imphal and the Darjeeling hills. Currently, a consultant with a publication initiative, he has earlier worked for a sports fortnightly, an English daily and a Bengali daily. He is an acclaimed authority on Badal Sircar’s theatre, Shakespeare-in-education and specialises in theatre-for-conflict-resolution and theatre-of-the-campus.
He is considered as a leading light in alternative theatre in the country having directed more than 50 productions of performance texts including three international collaborations. He has also performed 14 full length solos which include an acclaimed series of plays on trafficking, HIV and segregation called the River series, Living Text series and Foothills to Hills, a series of plays with Darjeeling as the living inspiration.
Parnab has created a personal idiom of using spaces for theatre exploration. He has extensively worked on a range of human rights issues which include specific theatre projects on anti-uranium project struggles in Jadugoda and Turamdihi, Save Tenzin campaign, rehabilitation after industrial shutdowns, shelter issue of the de-notified tribes, a widely acclaimed cycle of 12 plays against Gujarat genocide, and a range of issues on north-east with special reference to Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
Four of his major workshop modules: Freedomspeak, The Otherness of the Body, Conflict as a Text and The Elastic Body have been conducted with major theatre groups and campuses all over the country. He has written five books on theatr and his production of Tagore’s Muktadhara in darjeeling and Sikkim is an important landmark to raise voice on ctiizens affected by projects in Teesta.
Best of Kolkata Campus:
Best of Kolkata Campus, an autonomous performance collective and a non-profit performance foundry, has completed 15 years of doing dedicated theatre in found spaces and public arena. It has produced a number of young theatre workers who are active in the cultural and audio-visual training arena. It is a loosely formed collective of individuals who believe that theatre is an important an independent tool of dissent outside the ambit of party politics.
Some of the most memorable productions of the group include Hamletmachine, The Country with a post office, Antigone, Raktakarabi-an urban sound opera, Bhul Rasta, Kasper-dipped and shredded, They Also Work, River Monologues, Dead-Talk series, Conversations with the dead, Crisis of Civilisation, Shakespeare shorts, Man to Man talk, Inviting Ibsen for a Dinner with Ibsen, Your path wrong path and And the Dead Tree Gives no Shelter.
The group also works in the field of installation performances and theatre-of-conflict-resolution and peace studies. The collective has travelled extensively all over the subcontinent doing shows, giving workshops and exploring alternative performance idioms.