Where words, visuals and music blend

Night of Ideas presents an evening with an experimental form of live reading with a twist of artistic illustrations and percussion 
Joëlle Jolivet
Joëlle Jolivet

Imagine listening to a children’s book set in Tamil Nadu while an artist illustrates what the narrator reads and music plays in the background, all at the same time. If that has already set your mind whizzing with vivid visualisation, an evening of live reading, illustration and music with Karthika Nair, Joëlle Jolivet and Vishwa Bharath is for you.

A poet, fabulist, and librettist, Karthika, who will be reading out a book, tells us, “The children’s book is set in Tamil Nadu: Les Oiseaux électriques de Pothakudi / A Nestful of Light (as I’d called the story in English). The French edition of the book was published last October, and we were invited by the French Embassy — as part of the delegation for the New Delhi World Book Fair — to share the experience with readers in India.”

The live reading and illustration show is a part of the Night of Ideas, which was created in 2016 by the Institut Français. This international annual event aims to stimulate discussion by inviting speakers and performers from varied disciplines to respond to a single theme from their perspective. For their eighth edition this year, the theme More? has been chosen to explore the modes of extraction, production and consumption, the major questions posed by population growth and the culture of performance, in sports, school, work and leisure.

Karthika Nair
Karthika Nair

Under the aforementioned idea and theme, Karthika will be reading the children’s book. The merging of readings from a book, illustrations and music is an interesting concept, and we ask Karthika how the three of them weaved it together. She says, “There is a simple narrative that unfolds, and Joëlle illustrates the story while I read. We worked with the talented musician Bharath, in advance, to decide the rhythmic interludes and also filled him in on the story, so that he could internalise the dramatic beats.”

Joëlle, who works mostly in linocut, knows how to style without losing sight of the original object and is passionate about detail. “Joëlle’s drawings will be projected onto a large screen via a data projector or a webcam,” Karthika informs us.

Vishwa Bharath
Vishwa Bharath

The music for the show will be lent by Vishwa who has been performing for over 12 years now as a musician, dancer, and choreographer. He has designed music and movement for productions like The Trojan Women, Urubhangam, and Gallantly Fought the Queen.

On March1 at 7 pm.
The Edouard Michelin Auditorium, Alliance Française de Madras.


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