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In hybrid online-offline format, theatre fest explores the Unexpressed, ‘censorship’ of women’s bodies and artistic collaborations

Unlike the previous years, however, the official event of the Indian Centre of International Theatre Institute has adopted a hybrid format to face the uncertainty head on and keep theatres alive.

Written by Ruchika Goswamy | Pune | November 28, 2020 10:59:50 pm
IAPAR International Theatre Festival, censorship of women body, Pune theatre festival, Pune news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsThe fifth edition of the IAPAR International Theatre Festival (IITF) will be held from December 4 to December 10.

A constant element of human life is thoughts. Construction of thoughts, ideas, concepts and convictions has been a never-ending process and humans have often expressed their thoughts in a wide variety of ways. In simple words, just like the need for food, clothes and water, expressing one’s thoughts and feelings becomes a primal need.

“We often talk about freedom of expression, ways of expression but what crossed my mind is what if thoughts don’t get expressed? What happens when one can’t express? What happens when one is not allowed to fully express themselves… the challenges that one might face. And lastly, with no visible consequence, how does one comprehend this basic human need,” said performer and collaborator Ashish Vaze.

Avyakta (Unexpressed), is a performance and a work in progress by Vaze and Stephanie Castrejon from the US, which makes an attempt to take stock of what could happen if one stops expressing their thoughts. The project is one of the ‘creative crossovers’ of the fifth edition of the IAPAR International Theatre Festival (IITF), which will be held from December 4 to December 10.

Unlike the previous years, however, the official event of the Indian Centre of International Theatre Institute has adopted a hybrid format to face the uncertainty head on and keep theatres alive. “The pandemic is surely something that one can imagine being screened on a film but now, it is something that we are all facing together. Although all sectors are still dwindling, given the circumstances, the worst hit is the sector of arts. We began by carefully assessing how to host the festival completely online but now, with spaces slowly opening up, we are hopeful for theatre to gain momentum in the new normal as well,” said Vidyanidhee Varanase, director of the festival and alumnus of the National School of Drama.

While the hybrid format will mean the annual plethora of workshops and masterclasses will be conducted online, the on-ground performances will be held at The Box, Pune, on the first three days of the festival, amid all precautionary measures and safety guidelines.

Another performance project at IITF, Constant Acts of Disobeying, has been designed and directed by Aditi Venkateshwaran. It is an attempt to reflect on the censorship of a woman’s body, her thoughts and her voice. With the help of a collaboration between Margot Bareyt from France and Sayli Kulkarni and Tanvi Hegde from India, the performance tries to comprehend the mandate of masculinity as defined by famous Argentinian anthropologist Rita Segato, and how it can be taken down.

A unique segment of IITF 2020 will be the Emerging Artist Laboratory, an online interaction between young theatre-makers and mentors in the field of theatre, which will help mentors and youngsters to create work together.

Initiated in October, 20 students were selected for it, and the work thus created will premiere between December 6 and December 10 on the festival’s social media channels. John Britton, Aniruddha Khutwad, Yuki Ellias, Dr Jimmy Noreiga and Abhiram Bhadkamkar — each exploring a different tangent within theatre right from realistic acting, playwriting, physical theatre, inter-disciplinary practises and theatre for social change — were a part of the Lab.

This year, in order to acknowledge artists driving change within and outside communities through artistic practises that benefit the art form or the society, IITF has announced singer and composer Shruthi Veena Vishwanath as their ‘change maker’, for her “path-breaking” work in the Indian artistic scene.

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