Tipping a hat to 40 years of theatre
The activities lined up are split in three sections
In 1992, Veenapani Chawla established Adishakti, a laboratory for theatre art research, and paved the way for experimental theatre in India. While we lost her in 2014, her brainchild lives on in all its glory to celebrate its 40th anniversary, an event to be marked by the upcoming Remembering Veenapani festival. “It’s a double whammy for us. It is very rare for a theatre company to survive so long. Veenapani’s theatre is not simply theatre; it is an inclusion of dance, music, and all other disciplines, so we established Remembering Veenapani as a multidisciplinary fest where all kinds of creativity could be presented. This year, we are looking at a more elaborate exercise to (mark the momentous occasion),” shares Vinay Kumar KJ, the current artistic director and managing trustee. As opposed to the 10-day fete of the annual Remembering Veenapani, this year, the troupe has extended the celebration to a month-long affair full of performances and creative endeavours.
The activities lined up are split in three sections. The first five performances will be orchestrated by members of Adishakti, featuring home shows — three plays and two musical performances. Then, 12-day masterclasses by renowned artistes from across India, including Hassane Kassi Kouyate, P Ragagopal, Usha Nangiar, Anita Ratnam, Sathya Saran, Neelam Man Singh and A Mangai, will commence. Three masterclasses for children have also been arranged. The final part of the fest will be the guest performances from April 20. Adishakti has also planned an announcement regarding their Theatriculate Fellowship for which they are inviting applications. “The idea of the fellowship is to fund at least one creative endeavour from script to stage. This will include infrastructure, technical support and also an award of Rs 1.5 lakh. The selected applicant can write or devise their concept here and then return after three months to start their creation,” says Vinay.
While spirits and revelry remain high for the function, there is also a longing for the presence of the one who created it all. “Veenapani had the foresight to train a second and third line of leadership to take forward Adishakti and that same concept is what we maintain going forward. But, at the end of the day, you miss your teacher. We would have loved it if she were here to celebrate these 40 years of her baby,” he adds. That being said, Adishakti looks forward to the footfall this year. Vinay reminds everyone to come early as the seats are first come, first serve.
However, there are several food stalls to enjoy, he assures. And of what he hopes people take back with them, he reminds that live performance art stimulates the brain and Adishakti was created for people to walk in and, without ownership, feel a common place where creatives can meet and celebrate differences. “We created brick and mortar, but this place will only be vibrant when people come and share their experience with us or take it back with them,” he signs off.