PATRONS LINING up for the premiere of sound and music concert, interestingly titled Do you want me to stay for anything in particular?, had to do something that choreographer Sujay Saple feels is “the need of the hour”. They had to deposit their phones before entering the auditorium. This, Saple said, would go on to elevate the experience for the next 60 minutes.
Saple says, “I wanted to make sure the audience has full attention on the show for its entire duration.” The experience, he adds, is something most people will relate to. “Audiences can expect a poetic and meditative experience. It is intense, emotional and sometimes haunting, but will take everyone on their individual journeys. The show speaks about loss and absence, and I think most of us have experienced that. It does get quite emotional too,” he says.
The show is a choreographed sonic experience involving just one musician and one performer, with a limited number of spectators placed in intimate proximity to the artistes and to each other. Its title, Saple says, is open to interpretation. “The question on most people’s mind after a loss is about what is left behind? And that is from where the title comes in,” he adds.
The work is a collaboration between Saple and Japanese sound artist and musician, Mitsuaki Matsumoto, who, along with Mallika Singh, performs throughout the show. Sharing his experience of performing in India, Matsumoto says, “It’s nice to come to India to do something different. Usually, I only play and do concerts, my own thing. For me, it’s an extension (of my own practice) to work with choreographers and theatre artistes.” Matsumoto plays a self-modified string instrument, entirely fashioned and designed by him using remnants and dismembered parts of other musical instruments — mainly the Japanese Biwa and the cello.
Saple says that “it has been two parallel tracks for him in life”, with his interest in music as well as sound. “My earlier show, Lullaby Strange, was also playing with sound and vibrations, and the audience had to lie down to experience it. I love creating these peaceful experiences where audiences can go out feeling rejuvenated,” he adds.