Black Hole is made up of three elements — a woman, a white sheet and the idea of the cosmos,” says theatre actor and director Jyoti Dogra, ahead of performing her new play at the Chandigarh Literature Festival, which will also travel to Pune.
Black Hole is a solo devised piece, written, directed and performed by Dogra, who spent close to three-and-a-half years, researching and developing the piece between Mumbai, Delhi and Switzerland.
The piece explores ideas of theoretical physics from the perspective of an ordinary person who is trying to find greater engagement with the universe and the self.
As concepts from astrophysics intertwine with personal narratives exploring love, loss, mortality, experiential limits and the bodies we live in, the piece examines our thirst for knowledge, hunger for experience, and how the two combine to create our understanding of the cosmos.
Singularity, says Dogra, central to a Black Hole and central to our selfhood, forms a running theme through the piece.
While these laws are explained simply, maintaining their scientific sanctity, ultimately these ideas become metaphors, and at times, the lens through which we re-examine ourselves and our condition of grief and loss, a sense of ennui that begins to haunt you as you grow old, the growing apart in marital relationships as time progresses and the pathos and joys of the human condition at large, says Dogra.
In terms of design elements, the piece uses lights, projection mapping and sound. “There are no sets or props in the piece except for a single white sheet,” says the director. In terms of the performance language, it moves between the real and the mundane, the scientific and the dream-like — with images, sounds and text forming a fabric of space and time that explores the outer cosmos and inner cosmos.
“’We have also performed at institutes and universities across India and also for intimate audiences of 30 to 40 people in a small room and I hope we can reach larger audiences,” adds Dogra.