There is no stage, no fourth wall, no distance between the actors and the public: the theater of Pune becomes intimate

In the play Pagla Ghoda, recently performed in the city, the actress Amrita Patwardhan, who plays the role of the ghost, left the audience with no choice but to look her in the eyes, after breaking the scene. fourth wall ramming and yelling at them during the climax, while demanding that they reveal their authentic self. Meanwhile, the play Read Me In 5D Zone completely eliminated the conventional theater format, including stage and audience. Instead, the spectators traveled through the different rooms of a bungalow, where the different scenes took place, interpreting the roles of spectators and participants.

With no stage, no fourth wall and no distinction between the audience and actors – experimental theatre in Pune is undergoing a world of change, as plays becoming more ‘intimate’.

The director Mandar Kulkarni, who has adapted his Marathi game 2011 Varkha, originally written with the regular configuration of the proscenium drama, for this intimate space, explains: Nowadays, the experimental games want to erase the distance between the public and the actor.

The idea is to make production more engaging and interactive with the audience, says Mandar, adding: Intimate works are not exactly a new concept, but in the era of Visual Reality (VR), the theater needs its own virtual reality movement through these works. Nowadays, one can see the theater on television channels or easily access several works on the web, but what these media can not provide is that intimate theatrical experience, where you can observe the emotions of the actor closely or monitor with diligence your body language. That is why such games are rapidly taking intimate spaces.

We explore this new trend ...

GO BEYOND THE CONVENTIONAL STAGE, BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL

From the Chicagos Steppenwolf theater, with its 360 degree stage and close audience; To the recent theatrical experience in Melbourne called A Midnight Visit, which took place in an abandoned two-story North Melbourne warehouse with 34 rooms, the theater space is undergoing a huge transformation around the world. And Pune is not too far behind in this trend. Recently, the city witnessed a display of games in a complete bungalow. The work Read Me In 5D Zone eliminated the concept of scenario, in exchange for a house rented in Sinhagad Road. The play begins when you enter the venue, says Vinayak Kolwankar, director of the play, and explains: The audience shares the same space as the actors.

He cites the examples of the single Abda Abda of Madhuri Purandare, or the DNA of Prasad Vanarase, which was made in the homes of the people, and said: The public experienced the game more closely and personally, and improved the experience of observing the game .

Similarly, there is no stage that divides the audience actors in Varkha, in which the actor Shrikant Prabhakar, or his theatrical alter ego Ajji, converses with the audience directly, breaking modern relations in a language that can relate. to.

AFTER A POINT, YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE PART OF THE GAME: HEARING

However, Ajay adds that breaking the fourth wall is not a new concept. “Old folk art forms, like kirtan, bharud, etc. have always been presented at temples and public places where the performers enacted in the center, and the onlookers would surround them. The intimate dramas today are similar to that format,” shares Ajay.

Shrikant says that the Varkha play is destined to be more of an experience than entertainment.

He says: Many times, such games focus on sensitive issues, which are intended to have a great impact on the audience. And intimate spaces have the ability to do that. That is the reason behind bringing more and more dramas to intimate spaces.

Photographer Priyanka Gaikwad, who recently attended the play Kajvyanche Gaon, says: Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, seeing one in an intimate space like Sudarshan Rangmanch was a completely different experience. As the characters move among the audience, you are constantly alert, so much so that after a point, you feel that you are part of the work itself.

Sonia Gedam, who was also in the audience for the same work, adds: The work is heavy and emotional in some places. Sometimes, the character is right next to you and presents the dialogues as if they were designed for you. It is understandable to get carried away by those scenes.

WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING FROM EVERY ANGLE, IT BECOMES MORE ALERT: ACTORS AND DIRECTORS

In addition to reimagining the conventional scenario format, intimate drama requires that actors unlearn everything they learned for the proscenium configuration, including voice projection and body language. In fact, they say that they learn something new with each performance.

Amrita Patwardhan, who plays the lead role in the play Pagla Ghoda, says: When you know you are the central character and everyone is watching you from all angles, you become more alert as an actor. With the public aware of every flicker and movement, you can not fool them into that configuration.

The actor and theater writer Shrikant agrees: When the audience surrounds you, they get a 3D view. Then, your performance has to be equally realistic.

Ajay Joshi, a theater critic, feels that such dramas shape the actor's know-how. He explains: When the actors are very close to the audience, they become more cautious, because with every movement they make, the audience can grasp it. It is demanding because the audience is no longer out of focus, but is a central character of that particular work.

Games like these are a challenge for both writers and directors. Although the theme of the story remains the same, the way it is executed is what changes, says Vinayak, adding: You never know if an audience will come and sit next to the actor or look directly into the eyes of the actor. It prepares you for every situation.

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