It is with the body and mind that Kolkata-based theatre director Partha Bandyopadhyay transforms texts into full-fledged productions. Movements communicate more than words, as the director plays with images, mime and music to initiate conversations with the audience.
In Chandigarh on the invitation of the Punjab Kala Parishad to conduct a theatre workshop with 30 young theatre practitioners, the director has chosen Shakespeare’s The Tempest for the demonstration production. The initiative has the creative support of Suchetak Rang Manch, Mohali. “We chose
The Tempest because very few people have staged it. Except for a few dialogues, we use the body to express emotions and communicate with the audience through the movements. Each scene is first discussed and analysed,” says Bandyopadhyay. Founder of the Kolkata Movement Art, he graduated from National School of Drama in 1988. Prior to that, he worked with Niranjan Goswami and studied mime and movement in Paris.
The 50-year-old describes the process of his art as “psycho-physical”. He encourages participants to use their body to connect the dots, creating references in their mind, recalling music and taking the story forward. As a director, he has staged many of Shakespeare’s plays, as he finds them full of action and appropriate to create a visual impact. “Shakespeare is a master of images and for this workshop we have worked on a scene-by-scene synopsis. The participants explore many facets of their personality through their work.”
The director says he uses many “gimmicks” in his productions to create an impact. For instance, he created a tornado on stage to depict Ashoka’s birth and the tragedy of the Kalinga war. As a director, he studies “body physics” deeply, encouraging his actors to meditate to explore their inner feelings. “Only if we can concentrate on ourselves, can we reach out to others. As a teacher, I first work on helping them construct a scene, with music and movements. I recall and polish my own learnings as I teach. The demonstrations give my practice a new perspective. Many people are now working on physical theatre and a number of techniques are emerging on stage,” he adds.
The Tempest will be staged on July 15 at Punjab Kala Bhawan.