HYDERABAD: To experience ethos, pathos in the middle of a theatre performance in a large auditorium is one thing, to experience it on a one-to-one basis is quite another, especially when done in cramped, closed settings. What makes it even more unique is when it becomes immersive, interactive and intimate. Hyderabadi theatre artiste Anushka Ghose brings one-to-one immersive theatre to the city audience. The performance is presented by Thespo, a youth theatre platform.
As part of the show there will be only one audience member and only one theatre performer. The performances are to be held on April 3 and 4 at 4 pm on a digital platform. Titled The Right Way - Digital Volume III the show is going to be an intimate conversation, mostly a trajectory of tales between the performer and the participating audience member. Another interesting part is that the attendee interacts with the artiste to reach a conclusion.
Intense stories in small spaces
This type of theatre has been performed before in different parts of the world. The place of performance can be anywhere from a closet, a kitchen to a running taxi. Says Anushka who’s the brain behind the creative production for the audience, “The stage is going to be the attending individual’s mobile phone / laptop as we are organising it on a digital platform given the current pandemic situation.” Adds the 22-year-old producer, “It is a specially designed show for one audience member at a time that frames its narrative around what the audience sees.
Each spectator is a co-author and co-creator, who is invited to express themselves. The unique format lends itself to the intimate, almost secret-like exchange, allowing the participating audience to open up and communicate freely. Thus, no two performances are the same.” The performances are designed and directed by Daniele Bartolini – a playwright, performer and artist from Florence, Italy. He says, “Each spectator not only watches, but makes the performance.
The performance wants to simulate an intimate conversation where an audience member can open up freely and express themselves. The one on one format lends itself to creating such an atmosphere.” After its debut at the 48th International Theatre Festival of La Biennale Di Venezia, the project The Right Way continues, with a series of performances which includes Bartolini’s take on the changing world through his personal experiences as an artist(e).
Experiment and experience
Theatre, a popular engaging public act, has ventured into this kind of private experience from as early as 1970s when a performance was staged in a ladies’ toilet somewhere in Europe. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is known to showcase performances done in motor vehicles, closets and even cooking areas. In 2008, the Royal Court Theatre, London staged a play in a meeting room with the seating capacity of very few people. But then the question arises if the only one participating audience can get overwhelmed and if there are certain rules that can be followed? “No, there are no hard and fast rules. We go by the flow of the narrative and the participation of the only one audience member,” says Anushka.
To this adds Mohammed Lehry one of the performers, “The challenges of an alienated world have never been more imminent. This show gives us a way to reconnect with the audiences in an intimate, personal and satisfying way. The Right Way brings back what was cool in the theatre; conversation. Pure, unadulterated conversation between the theatre maker and the audience member. It offers a way to un-burden oneself of the weight of being constantly right and not being able to speak one’s mind.” Other than him there are two more performers – Aditya Tripathi and Kokila Mohini Beri.
It’s a highly experimental theatre format not experienced by many. Says a participant-audience Nayla Kumari, “The thought of being a part of a performance is thrilling. It makes me a little nervous to think that my opinions might shape the show but since I have never engaged with something like this before it makes me even more curious.”
A 22-year-old Hyderabadi theatre artiste Anushka Ghose brings a unique format, one-to-one immersive theatre, to the city audience. The style comprises only one audience member and one performer. We speak to the director, a participant and a performing-artiste, as youth platform Thespo presents this act online
— Saima Afreen firstname.lastname@example.org @Sfreen