IN MID-July this year, Telangana-based Akram Feroze had launched an ambitious project ‘Theatre at Borders’, exploring the idea of a “border-free world” by travelling on India’s borderlines with a ‘world passport’. He set off his journey from Kashmir followed by Kutch, only for his project to be abruptly ended in Jaisalmer on its 24th day when some locals complained to the police of him indulging in alleged “anti-national” activities.
Police detained him on August 13 this year, and later, arrested him under Sections 151 and 101 of the Criminal Procedure Code on August 20. He was granted a bail on August 26 on the condition that he will present himself as and when he is summoned by the police.
In retrospect, Feroze feels that things would have been different if he wasn’t a Muslim “I don’t want to generalise but for good or bad reasons, such things do exist in the world. My answer to two questions — What’s your name? and where are you from? — were more than enough for them to suspect me. Another thing that made me ‘suspicious’ was my project that challenges the very concept of borders,” said 27-year-old Feroze, who has embarked upon another one, Two Wheels of Theatre, an extension of his previous project, Theatre at Borders. Feroze practises the concept of ‘invisible theatre’ wherein he travels to different places, meets strangers, gets into a certain character and tells a story without ‘staging’ a performance in a conventional manner.
For Two Wheels of Theatre, Feroze has collaborated with Switzerland-based artiste Lia Hasler. “I had met Lia (Hasler) two years ago in a theatre workshop in Madurai. When she was coming to India again this time, we decided to perform this play, The Lone Conqueror, under the campaign Two Wheels of Theatre,” he said, adding that ‘Two Wheels’ signify the duo traveling on a motorbike around the country for 4,000 km with their play, halting in various cities for a performance. While Pune is their first stoppage, they will further take it to Bhopal, Delhi and Jaipur. For the play’s debut performance in Pune, the duo have collaborated with Shivsparsh Prakashan and Natak Company. An hour-long play seeks to understand the issue of war and how people see everyone as an enemy and lose basic emotions in the surge of things. The story sees two characters – Alexander and Natalia – who are the lone survivors of a tragic war. For 20 years, they’ve been living all alone in different parts of the world. After a period of 20 years, they meet each other and try to understand what has happened. “The idea was to recreate the picture of how we see nations and how we see borders during the time of conflicts.” said Feroze.
‘The Lone Conquereor’ will be staged at Aksharnandan School, SB Road, Pune on December 12, 7 pm