Ripples / present and past

Photo | Yashas Chandra

Photo | Yashas Chandra

The Tadpole Repertory has been a long time forming. We’ve worked loosely with each other, or with mutual acquaintances, for a few years now. The company as it stands now comprises the fluff in the Velcro, so to speak.

This is a list of our work – present and past.

– – –

NDLS

Devised by the Tadpole Repertory
Directed by Bikram Ghosh
Premiered at Downstairs | August 2013
Produced by the Tadpole Repertory

Photo | Kartikey Shiva

Photo | Kartikey Shiva

NDLS is a collection of short sketches – comic, dramatic, musical and nonsensical – making propositions about states of life in the Capital. It is a series of possibilities for the movement of people in the metro: in local shops and public parks, within the circles of the centre, in the water closets of the class war, not to mention the spawning pools of the hip and the happening. It is an attempt to draw a sketchy line between light entertainment and shady comedy. More or less… Actually, it’s nothing like this. It’s just a bit of fun, really.

from the Press:
“Nobody does variety shows in Delhi quite like Tadpole Repertory.”
Uday Bhatia, TimeOut Delhi

THE WINTER’S TALE

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Anirudh Nair and Neel Chaudhuri
Premiered at Zorba the Buddha, Ghitorni | March 2013
Produced by the Tadpole Repertory and Wide Aisle Productions

Photo | Akshay Mahajan

Photo | Akshay Mahajan

THE WINTER’S TALE is a story of loss and redemption. Written toward the end of William Shakespeare’s theatrical career, it is a transcendent work of death and revival exploring irrational jealousy, the redemptive world of nature, and the magical power of art. Sweeping across two continents and two generations, it is a play of suspicions and secrets, with the mythic beauty of a fairytale.

In a fit of jealousy, Leontes, the King of Sicily, convinces himself that his pregnant wife is carrying his best friend’s lovechild. Jealousy turns to tyranny as Leontes proceeds to destroy his family and friendships. The action then moves to Bohemia as we see a rather different scene unfold sixteen years later, moving us towards one of the most astonishing and theatrically exciting endings in all of English drama.

from the Press:
“A production this complete and wholly well wrought is a rare thing… You end up not simply having watched, but having been through a story.”
Devika Bakshi, OPEN Magazine

“Poetic and brilliant… This is a production that is both absolutely universal and utterly located in the here and now of India 2013.”
Trisha Gupta, LeCity Deluxe

“Spry, fleet and staged with tremendous sensitivity. It was an enchanting experience.”
Andrew Dickson, The Guardian (UK)

STILL AND STILL MOVING

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Supported by Rage Theatre, Mumbai and the Royal Court Theatre, London
Premiered at Prithvi Theatre,  Mumbai  | January 2012
Produced by the Tadpole Repertory

Photo | Kartikey Shiva

“I find myself talking about trains… the order of things as based from a train window. Clarity improving only with distance, the violent speed of the tracks colliding and parting… Sleeping and waking, finding everything around you exactly the same, and everything outside changed.”

STILL AND STILL MOVING is a fractured love story set in Delhi and Gurgaon.

from the Press:
“The Tadpole Repertory has quietly mounted a production of rare beauty… [the] tale plays out like a paean to love and longing, and loneliness, perhaps, but never to that numbing sense of loss… In releasing its characters from the cloistered confines that would have once been their only fate, this play represents a remarkable achievement.”
Vikram Phukan, Mumbai Theatre Guide 

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

Devised by the Tadpole Repertory
Directed by Mallika Taneja and Neel Chaudhuri
Commissioned by the Navdanya Trust for the Bhoomi Festival 2011
Premiered at IIC Auditorium | October 2011
Produced by the Tadpole Repertory and the Navdanya Trust

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND is a collection of seven vignettes that seek to find a resonance of Rabindranath Tagore’s writings on ‘home and the world’ in contemporary experience. The pieces deal with the concepts of land, identity, development and nationalism – subjects of great import not just to Tagore, but also to the current climate of frenzied politics. Each vignette observes specific instances of these issues with humour and a contemplative eye. The collection hopes to illuminate our own times while heeding the remarkable prescience in Tagore’s outlook, gently mirroring Tagore’s own resistance to political fervour and popular wisdom.

ICH BIN FASSBINDER

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Supported by 50 Year Anniversary Grant Programme of Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, India
Premiered at Siddhartha Hall, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan | May 2011
Produced by The Tadpole Repertory

Photo | Yashas Chandra

Homi H is mesmerised by Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film Angst essen Seele auf (Fear Eats the Soul) as a student in England. He decides to adapt it for the stage with his Delhi-based theatre group, The Building Company. He throws himself headfirst into the production, forsaking his personal life and taking singular responsibility for the project. He works tirelessly to make it worthy of the original film and the genius of Fassbinder. From the beginning, his efforts are fraught: there are loopholes and oversights in his script, the actors struggle with the plot and become lost in the jumble of the director’s ideas of their characters and their counterparts in the film. Most crucially, his dedication to the project leads him to fetishise the German filmmaker to the point of imitation. He imagines that if he can be and work like Fassbinder, everything will fall into place …

ICH BIN FASSBINDER chronicles an ill-fated theatre production and a magnificent obsession with one of German theatre and cinema’s most engimatic artists, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

from the Press:
“The play which aims to break down the building blocks of a creative exercise only to put it together again chooses to unravel in a space where the audience is privy to every little niggle …. the play which is more about the tussles within than presumably with the battles in the open can gain from the no-holes-barred view it lends the audience.”
P. Anima, The Hindu

RHAPSODY AND OTHER MOVEMENTS

Written and devised by the Tadpole Repertory
Based on the work of the artist S.G. Vasudev
Premiered at the Lalit Kala Akademi | March 2011
Produced by the Tadpole Repertory

Photo | Yashas Chandra

RHAPSODY AND OTHER MOVEMENTS is inspired by the work of the artist Vasudev, accompanying ‘Recollections, Reconnections’, an exhibition of drawings, paintings, tapestries and copper reliefs by the artist. Engaging with Vasudev’s various works, the performance comprises text and movement that grew out of a workshop, merging the performers’ own recollections and memories with new stories that pick up on and images, motifs and characters from the work displayed at the exhibition.

TARAMANDAL

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Based on the story ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ by Satyajit Ray
Winner of The Hindu Metro Plus Playwright Award 2010
Premiered at Akshara Theatre | April-May 2010
Produced by The Tadpole Repertory

photo | Kota Shiva

Photo | Kartikey Shiva

Satyajit Ray’s short story, ‘Patol Babu, Film Star’ tells of a chance opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. Patol Babu is fifty or so and has led a decidedly unglamorous life. His one passion, acting, has never really amounted to anything apart from a few theatre performances as a child in his local community group or at school. One day the possibility of a part in a film opens up. Despite it being a walk-on role of a pedestrian, Patol embraces the opportunity with open arms …

TARAMANDAL extends this little story by constructing parallel narratives that set up and mirror Patol Babu – in younger versions of himself or people just like him. All of these stories of failed ambition in the theatre, movies or television culminate in his one single walk on opportunity.

from the Press:
“… despite the multitude of thwarted ambitions, the tone never turns bitter. Although Taramandal ultimately coheres around one hard truth – that you’ll probably end up failing to achieve your dreams – the blow is softened by Chaudhuri’s empathy for his characters and the trading of directness for irony, and shouts for sighs.”
Uday Bhatia, TimeOut Delhi

Taramandal leaves behind a clutch of endearing, enduring images. Amputated ambitions waft through the play, yet keep the mood light. Probably, that’s the strength of Taramandal… [The play] boasts some skilful performances … [and] succeeds in delving into nooks of an actor rarely seen.”
P. Anima, The Hindu

STIFF KITTENS’ THE MEDICINE SHOW

Devised and Curated by Emperor Minge and the Tadpole Repertory
Premiered at The Living Room Cafe | May 2009
Produced by Emperor Minge and the Tadpole Repertory

Photo | Stacey Hieriem

Photo | Stacey Hieriem

THE MEDICINE SHOW was a Delhi-based weekend cabaret-slash-variety show. Emperor Minge and Tadpole came together as ‘Stiff Kittens’ to play host to a diverse range of entertainers under the same roof for one night only (and sometimes, for two). From surreal, acoustic renderings of Bollywood numbers and absurd sketch comedy, to stand-up comics, troubadours, puppeteers, road-side barbers, ballet dancers, rock ‘n’ rollers, and well, charlatans of all shapes, sizes and odours.

from the Press:
“Delhi has never been quite so kooky, so fruity, and so fun. For those of us sick of the same old scenes – rock, metal, trance, hip hop, whatever – it’s wonderful to be exposed to a spectacle independent of categories and cliques, existing entirely in a realm of passion, creativity and joyous tribute to music, art and freedom.”
Suhrid Manchanda, NH7

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PANTOMIMES

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Premiered at Akshara Theatre | November 2008
Produced by The First City Theatre Foundation

Photo | Yashas Chandra

Photo | Yashas Chandra

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PANTOMIMES is a fictional biography of a group of people who decided not to speak in their daily lives. The play is a reconstruction of their story – their means of living and communication, their interactions with the speaking world and the circumstances that isolated them. It presents scenes plucked out of their history, but apparently coloured by the perception and conjecture of their fictitious biographers.

from the Press:
“In this play, not only the plot and the properties, but also the very essence of theatre, that is, dialogues are more or less done away with. And there lies the art of theatre. Director Neel Chaudhuri does not do it for the sake of doing it, but because he wants the audience to pay attention and one would not miss what is not there. In fact, one redefines one’s range of expectations and enjoys the experience of communication and action without any dialogue … One is simply left dumbfounded and completely mesmerized. What a unique and powerful presentation!”
Vijay K Sharma, Stage Buzz

GOOD HANDS & GODSPEED

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Premiered at The Attic | July-August 2008
Produced by The First City Theatre Foundation

Design | Sunando Chakraborty

In Good Hands, a young man presents a slide show of ‘unsung superheroes’, highlighting their elemental virtues and narrating short episodes from their adventures.

In Godspeed, a girl cleans up a room that belonged to a boy who died, finding comfort in songs from his music collection.

from the Press:
“All in all, Good Hands/Godspeed is worth the one hour spent on it because when you leave the intellectual prism of The Attic for rush hour CP, you have something substantial to think about.”
Shunashir Sen, Mail Today

“It is the innate skill of the author and quiet elegance of the actors Momo Ghosh and Kriti Pant that create an immediate rapport with the audience who feel they are listening to stories told by a couple of friends one relaxed evening in their living rooms.”
Preminder Singh, Stage Buzz


MOUSE

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Premiered at M.L.Bhartia Auditorium, Alliance Française de Delhi | February 2008
Produced by The First City Theatre Foundation

Photo | Yashas Chandra

Photo | Yashas Chandra

MOUSE is about a play in waiting. A young director readies her actor for the first performance of an idiosyncratic play. In the course of last minute revisions they struggle between her anxieties and his diffidence, making us wonder why this uncanny duo even came together in the first place. Mouse throws a torch light on the insecurities of the artist – the smallest, weakest artist. It is a play that observes our little ambitions in their most monstrous proportions.

from the Press:
“The strength of [Mouse] is the dialogue … This is not a play with a social message or with reformist ambitions and it doesn’t apologise for that. Rife with subtle satire it exposes the loftiness of directors’ ambitions, their timid insecurities and their unreal expectations of actors … The wit evokes Bernard Shaw. It uses his wry sarcasm but adds modern irony.”
Nandini Nair, The Hindu


POSITIONS

Written and Directed by Neel Chaudhuri
Premiered at The British Council Auditorium | December 2006
Produced by The First City Theatre Foundation & Wide Aisle Productions

Photo | Yashas Chandra

Photo | Yashas Chandra

POSITIONS is a collection of six vignettes or ‘stolen moments’ involving the interactions of a miscellany of characters. It was developed over two years through a series of improvisations, workshops and two separate productions. Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s piece ‘Happy Endings’, the stories explore the nature of storytelling in theatre – plot, narrative and convention – with a sense of adventure. How we begin and end a story rarely changes. It is what we do in between and how that counts.

from the Press:
“The sort of storytelling that Positions favours, with its long silences, garbled and often nonsensical dialogue, and quiet and accidental humour, should become the ‘stuff’ of this new breed of storytellers … Each vignette breathes a new sense of potential; if this is the future of Delhi theatre (and it must be), they might be on to something quite special.”
Pratap Ramanathan

“Chaudhuri plays down, even discards, the all-important role of dialogues, keeps the atmosphere mostly surreal and never ever lets the audience forget that they are in a theatre. The tools he uses are powerful images, great acting and haunting music by Samar Grewal.”
Dipanita Nath, Indian Express

Advertisements

 
%d bloggers like this: