ahead of the future, behind the past

•April 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Planning a calendar is like nothing else we do: sometimes, I think we’re always planning calendars.

We usually start fairly neatly: everything well-paced, in its place, discrete – like a carefully arranged irrigation scheme. And then overnight, the whole landscape is full of weeds, and wild things have come creeping back from bygone days to take root in our socks. So, here’s a post halfway between the past and the future. You’d think that would be the present, wouldn’t you? Well, it bloody isn’t.

Good Hands / Godspeed

Almost a month ago, we performed Good Hands/Godspeed again, each monologue in a different venue. For the first time, K and I watched each other comfortably from a seat instead of listening closely backstage (in her case) or sneaking in to stand at the back (in mine). But maybe we won’t split the pieces up again: we’ve always thought of them as a pair, to be honest, and in either case there feels like there is an empty space where the other person used to be.

We had visitors, too, a couple of weeks ago. Vacuum Theatre from London got in touch with us: they were here to meet new audiences, tickle new fancies, and put forward their own proposition for having a good time in the theatre: called Something From Nothing. We helped them mount a few shows over a weekend at an intimate space in Panchsheel and at Bakheda in Said-ul-Ajab. The play is as ridiculous, mysterious and fun as its preview images: which have nothing to do with the play… sort of. The company will be back in India again, they promise, so keep an ear to the ground for them: they might be coming soon to a theatre near you.

Something From Nothing | Vacuum Theatre, London

(Also worth mentioning at this point: Anuj Chopra from the newly-formed Third Space Collective ran the lighting operation at both spaces, as usual, like a boss. We’re very chuffed to be working with him. The Third Space is getting ready to mount some shows soon, by the way, so watch for them.)

Both these little events, as enjoyable and surprising as they may have been, were not part of our calendar, by the way. They just seemed to happen spontaneously, without even a stirring leaf to warn us. Not enough to blog about, anyway.

Finally, in May, we get down to doing things we’ve planned to do in the city: we’re gearing up to do a couple of workshops the coming week, and we’ll be doing more as we head into the summer, so keep a look out on Facebook, if you’re interested. The plan is to hide in our underground bunkers and play till the sun stops crying and the sky darkens and the clouds come flying in with rain. If you want to know more about the workshops we’re currently running, click here now to go to the Facebook note.

Oh, and finally, there’s probably a couple of performances next month of Mouse – remember that little play? We’re hoping to breathe new life into it this year, and give it a healthy run with some new faces soon. Well, one new face and one masked man.

We’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Thank Yous and all

•March 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Er. Okay. So. Since our last post, we’ve performed The Winter’s Tale at the Humara Shakespeare Festival (organised by the Prakriti Foundation) in Chennai in November. We bedded down in Kalakshetra, and spent nights talking shit and staring at the sky: shooting stars and everything, down by the sea. It turned out to be the last performance of the play for our beautiful and beloved Krittika Bhattacharjee: in Edinburgh now, doing homework. And for valiant Ashish Paliwal, called away to battle, by the world at large.

We ran more shows of NDLS just before Christmas, including a weekend in a warehouse space called Bakheda (which, by now, many of you must already know of). With strange new material, and even stranger new faces. We’re still trying new things, but so far we’re just thankful that everyone who’s helped put it together and everyone who’s come to watch is having fun. And there’s more on the way. We miss KB a lot.

We revived the Tale again late in January, with a few new faces and some parts reshuffled, to perform at the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (or ITFoK, if you like) in Thrissur. It’s a bustling festival, but intimate in its own way. We all shook new hands, and returned a few new grins. And, we welcomed to the cast the degenerates Dinker Sharma, Pooja Anna Pant and Upasya Goswami. May the gods have mercy on their souls.

And finally, most recently, Sandeep Shikhar joined us again for our performance of Taramandal at the Vinod Doshi Memorial Festival in Pune last week. It meant a lot to us to be invited. Our friends at Aasakta were total stars, all the way. Thank you everyone who helped bring us there, and who came to watch, and were so gracious and generous with their response.

Okay. That’s what’s happened. The next post will be about what’s about to happen next. I can hardly wait to tell you. 🙂

just a few words

•October 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

So. Today we play our last couple of shows. Things have gone by at such a sensible pace here at the Festival, that it’s been surreal: yesterday we performed our 4th show to yet another attentive and appreciative audience (someone Bless the Irish!). We were half way through our run yesterday, see, and today, we wrap up.

There’s a party at the Festival club tonight. The Tadpole itinerary reads “10pm onwards | Eat, celebrate, get shitfaced, stumble back to the hotel”.

It’s been thoroughly remarkable to be here, of all places. I haven’t felt alien here at all – and I’ve never been abroad before. It’s probably because we’ve been at work.

Even at the theatre, the technical staff have been lovely. They seem to have a real command over improvising solutions – over jugaad, ha! They’ve made us feel quite at home… Just a little better, maybe, because they’ve just been so helpful. Try and get staff at some hallowed festivals at home to treat small groups with respect, and you’ll see what I mean.

The response has been so very gratifying. Smiles all around. Mostly. And we’ve met many a friendly face: in bars, on the street, in the theatre, and even in the dining room at breakfast.

Oh, Piyush (and Charlotte) have come all the way from Paris to watch, and newly-made old friends and connections in the city have raised the flag.

So. That’s what’s happened so far. Let’s get on with it. With the deepest thanks to Willie White, Stephen MacManus, Spud, Liam, Rob, Sebastian, Aifric, Aoife, Natasha, Kate, Aran, and finally, Ste, for the photographs.

Yah. And everyone else in the whole world. 🙂

of moving ever onwards

•October 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

So, for the sake of getting this down: since our Summer workshops (which went off quite well, by the way) came to a close, we’ve gone a little underground but we’ve still been pretty active.

We put together a comedy revue about our un-fair yet beloved capital, titled NDLS. The show comprises a string of sketches and vignettes centred on transportation, traffic, and the city. It turned out to be great fun for us: the cast really owned the material we churned out, and the way the show came together, I think, owes much to the Tadpole attempt at a democratic process. It was also hugely enjoyable bringing new faces into the Rep and to watch them make something out of nothing. We’re aching to do more shows with even more new material: watch out for us performing this juicy theatrical feast between 20 November and 20 December, if you haven’t already. Chances are, of course, that you haven’t.

Something worth thinking about, perhaps, is some of the content in our show: older audiences, for example, were far less self conscious about laughing at (and enjoying) the, ahem, more politically risqué material. Younger audiences mostly sat stone-faced, a little embarrassed, and deeply disapproving of some of the material, as blind men and pregnant cripples fought over seating on the Metro, a troupe of ‘tribal’ musicians introduced their homeland to us through the medium of ‘tribal’ song, and grandparents came entangled in a small South Delhi neighbourhood park.

I should mention that at the moment, I’m reclining on a deck chair at the Dubai International Airport, being shaken every time some slumbering body along the row shifts in its sleep. We’re on our way to the Dublin Theatre Festival, incidentally, to perform TARAMANDAL there from 8-12 October. This is almost entirely by the grace of the Festival organisers: who have been complete stars in terms of bailing us out when, two weeks ago, the ICCR withdrew (without any explanation) their promise to cover our air fare. We’re deeply grateful for the kindness of those who insisted that we come, who made this possible.

An interesting titbit of news about this current run of TARAMANDAL is that Tarun is not with us this time. It’s the first time in 3 years that we’ve replaced a cast member, that we’ve had to. We welcome the illustrious Sandeep Shikhar into our Tad-fold, and thank him for his wonderful contributions to the play.

And so, somehow we find ourselves enduring a 7-hour layover in the giant shopping mall that is Dubai airport. I’ll try and do a little update everyday about the trip. Consider this the first: an article written in transit.

That’s all for now. Watch this space for more salubrious details.

The Looking Glass Project / Objects in Space

•June 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment
The Looking Glass Project | Objects in Space

The Looking Glass Project | Objects in Space

The Looking Glass Project
a workshop on the transformation of dramatic space using furniture, objects and the actor’s body

18 June – 29 June | 14-17 year olds | rs. 5000

The world of a play is brought to life, in many senses, through the placement of sets and properties. Among other things, they express the mood of the stage, and define the way performers interact with the world. Introducing bodies, set-pieces and objects into an empty space, the workshop looks at ways of building settings and transforming environments through simply designed arrangements of these objects. Through games and exercises the workshop looks into the value of objects and set-pieces in giving meaning to dramatic spaces, as well as their interaction with bodies, before moving on to putting this learning into action by creating small performances of its own.

For more detailed information on each individual workshop, please write to: tadpoletheatre@gmail.com.

To register for any of the workshops, please call: Bikram Ghosh (+91) 98113 92916 or Kriti Pant (+91) 98184 07906.

REGISTER NOW! Places are limited.

The Looking Glass Project / The Word

•May 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment
The Looking Glass Project | The Word

The Looking Glass Project | The Word

The Looking Glass Project
a theatre workshop on the spoken word and storytelling

18 June – 29 June | 21 years old and above | 7pm-9pm | Rs. 5000

At a fundamental level, theatre depends on the ability to tell stories, and to tell them well. Focusing on the use of breath and voice, the workshop addresses elements of storytelling such as dramatic reading, the interpretation of text, and live storytelling. The workshop uses games, exercises, improvisations, and both comic and dramatic texts to explore the simple and effective use of the word on stage.

For more detailed information on each individual workshop, please write to: tadpoletheatre@gmail.com.

To register for any of the workshops, please call: Bikram Ghosh (+91) 98113 92916 or Kriti Pant (+91) 98184 07906.

REGISTER NOW! Places are limited.

The Looking Glass Project / The Playhouse

•May 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment
The Looking Glass Project | The Playhouse

The Looking Glass Project | The Playhouse

The Looking Glass Project
a workshop for writers, actors and directors

18 June – 13 July | 17-21 year olds

The Playhouse is a three-part workshop designed to bring young writers, actors and directors together, to plunge into a month of creative collaboration. The workshop focuses on three parts of the theatre process:

1) THE WRITER’S ROOM: writing and developing text / 18 June – 29 June
2) THE ACT: an actor’s tools and process / 1 July – 13 July
3) THE LAB: directing and devising / 1 July – 13 July

rs. 4000 per workshop / rs. 7000 to participate in 2 workshops

The Playhouse will culminate in a sharing of the month’s work through a weekend of performances for the public.

Please note: Participants can choose to be part of two workshops in total: writers may also sign up for the actors’ or directors’ workshops. However, actors and directors may not sign up for both the acting and direction workshops.

a workshop on developing dramatic text and discovering the writer’s own unique approach

18 June – 29 June

Playwriting in India feeds on a number of traditions or forms, urging playwrights to discover and develop their practices drawing on their own specific roots and influences – from narrative poetry, oral storytelling, folk theatre forms, theatre of the Absurd, and even television. This workshop addresses the writer’s unique approach to writing a play – without being prescriptive or laying down any defining rules – pushing writers instead to consider aspects pertinent to dramatic writing: structure, character, dialogue, rhythm and purpose. Each writer will work towards completing a short play or scene by the end of the workshop, which will be subsequently produced by a director and cast from the Playhouse.

a workshop on the art of listening and the common sense of the actor

1 July – 13 July

Every thing that happens on stage, whether spoken or performed, is an action within the play. For every action that an actor proposes, there is a response: a reply of a kind that demands another and so the play proceeds. Directing the actor’s focus on the simple act of listening with one’s full attention, this workshop then addresses the reading and expression of intent, and on approaching text.  Finally, during a week of rehearsing the Playhouse texts, the actors will have the opportunity to practice their common sense on stage, to listen to each other and to commit to action, without adding to or denying any part of what is spontaneous reaction.

a workshop on directing actors and devising productions

1 July – 13 July

Ritual and process are crucial to theatre practice. At the outset, a director’s role is to devise a ‘method’ to the making of a play, including fundamental aspects such as setting up the routines of rehearsal, preparing the actors through groundwork and exercises, as well as taking charge of the creative development of the performance. More crucially, the director must observe and respond. By sharing elements and methods from Tadpole’s own practice, this workshop provides each director the opportunity to work with actors in realising one of the Playhouse texts. It will encourage them to use the rehearsal space as a laboratory – to explore, experiment and execute their vision.

To find out more about The Playhouse, please write to: tadpoletheatre@gmail.com, or call Neel Chaudhuri (+91) 9873134028.

To register for any of the workshops, please call: Bikram Ghosh (+91) 98113 92916 or Kriti Pant (+91) 98184 07906.

REGISTER NOW! Places are limited.

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