The Festival of Laughter and Forgetting delves into themes of public and private memory
The famous Milan Kundera novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, dissects the many meanings of ‘memory’ and ‘forgetting’ in the context of history, politics and life. Taking cues from the book, The Festival of Laughter and Forgetting by Ranga Shankara and Sandbox Collective, also delves into themes of public and private memory through six plays, as well as art installations, talks and workshops. Organiser Shiva Pathak shares, “Kicking off next week, the festival hopes to hold a mirror to our society. This is a call to find artistic responses to the times that we are living in.” The festival has been conceived as a response to today’s society.
“Can art change the world? Perhaps not! But, what it can do is help us deal with the changing world. That was the starting point for the festival,” co-organiser Nimi Ravindran says. The fest received over 170 applications from across the country and an eminent jury comprising writer Jayant Kaikini, Arundhati Ghosh of the India Foundation for the Arts and playwright Sapan Saran, shortlisted the plays that eventually became part of the fest. The theme of the plays range from the voyeuristic attitude of society towards disaster and social issues, to the radicalisation of Kashmiri youth.
Apart from this, there are a host of events and installations curated around the plays. The fest starts with an interactive music performance by The Urban Folk Project and the Indian Music Experience’s installation that features a bioscope with music from cinema on the theme of laughter. Their in-house coffee shop, Anju’s Cafe, will also have a special menu based on the performance of the day for the length of the festival.
Here’s a peek into the plays being staged...
Nava: A collaboration between Dramanon and Aravani Art Project, this production brings together the stories of nine urban transwomen. The performers tell their own stories in their own words. November 5, 7.30 pm
Rihla: An adaptation of Andreas Flourakis’ play I Want A Country, Rihla is about a group of young rebels in a crisis-ridden country. November 6, 7.30 pm
Hello Farmaaish!: Inspired by Kalpana Chawla, this play follows a group of women, who embark on a whimsical adventure into outer space, from a small Haryanvi settlement. November 7, 7.30 pm
Sangeet Bari: This production is based on the Maharashtrian Lavani dance. It is a deeper look at the dancers and musicians who are part of the artform. November 8, 7.30 pm
The Hunger Artist: This play is based on the Franz Kafka short story of the same name. By putting a
hunger-stricken farmer in a cage, it creates a dialogue on society and spectatorship. November 9, 7.30 pm
Eidgah Ke Jinnat: Set in Kashmir, this production interweaves real incidents with Islamic storytelling elements. It is about a generation of radicalised kids lost to conflict. November 10, 7.30 pm
Rs. 200 for each play. November 5-10.
At JP Nagar