Remembering Veenapani: A theatre pageant for all

Bijayini Sathpathy performing at the ‘Remembering Veenapani Festival’ 2023, held in Puducherry

Bijayini Sathpathy performing on the ‘Remembering Veenapani Pageant’ 2023, held in Puducherry
| Picture Credit score: Courtesy: Adishakti Theatre

When the houselights got here on, the resounding applause wouldn’t cease. In superbly adorned environment exterior the theatre throughout the annual Remembering Veenapani Pageant, extra treats had been on supply: popsicles, burgers, bajjis and wealthy conversations. Folks lingered, nonetheless, to soak within the magic of performances taking place at Adishakti Theatre’s Koothu Kovil in Puducherry.

The pageant, held just lately, wasn’t nearly stellar performances by artistes, who’ve rigorously honed their craft. What made it exceptional was the way in which it energetically reunited audiences with the imaginative and prescient and intent of Veenapani Chawla – an arts pioneer, who without end remodeled Indian Theatre and an arid land exterior Puducherry, right into a fertile area of studying.

An English instructor, who found a ardour for theatre, Veenapani’s creative experiments have nurtured and influenced the artistic practices of a number of the biggest actors, administrators, writers, musicians and dancers of our time. She led by instance – coaching with skilled arts practitioners throughout the nation, and discovering newer modes of accessing efficiency power throughout the physique.

SOPE workshop

A section of the audience at the ‘Remembering Veenapani Festival’ 2023, held in Puducherry.

A piece of the viewers on the ‘Remembering Veenapani Pageant’ 2023, held in Puducherry.
| Picture Credit score:
Courtesy: Adishakti Theatre

She designed the Supply of Efficiency Power (SOPE) workshop, an actor coaching module that also attracts individuals from internationally. Veenapani’s analysis additionally led to the creation of a singular efficiency methodology, rooted in conventional arts however modern in expression. As theatre-goers over the nation know, Workforce Adishakti’s well-crafted performs run to packed homes.

After Veenapani’s sudden demise in November 2014, her colleagues and mentees, Vinay Kumar and Nimmy Raphael, have taken ahead Adishakti’s coaching and efficiency practices. Vinay Kumar, creative director, Adishakti Theatre, shares that the pageant started as a small providing to remain related with Veenapani’s work. In 9 years, it has grown right into a celebration of finely tuned creative practices.

Although the Pageant is crowd-funded, the exhibits usually are not ticketed in order that it’s accessible to individuals from all strata. “Each present throughout this 12 months’s pageant drew a unique form of viewers. Provided that a theatre area permits quite a lot of audiences to come back in can there be an fascinating engagement. That is how theatre can develop,” says Vinay.

“As a Theatre Firm, our influences come from a number of sources,” says Nimmy Raphael, managing trustee, Adishakti Theatre. “In step with Veenapani’s perception that ‘something and the whole lot is theatre’ – music, dance, magic and lots of different artwork kinds are included within the pageant yearly. The objective is to usher in high quality performances for native communities to observe.”

Chat periods

This 12 months’s version included an interactive session referred to as Adishakti Gupshup that was held earlier than each efficiency. Seated within the wooded, frontyard of the theatre, performers highlighted the artistic processes that formed their work. Adishakti Gupshup facilitated a glimpse into the artistic journeys behind every present.

If the inaugural efficiency by well-known Hindustani vocalist Shubha Mudgal revolved round ‘Girls, Sexuality and Tune’, Savita Rani’s ‘Notion(s): In Between You and Me’ was an brisk solo efficiency that questioned the notions of nation and id that we partly create for ourselves, and partly fall prey to. Aaditya Rawat’s ‘A Lullaby to Get up’ was an interactive efficiency created by the first-ever Adishakti Theatriculate awardee.

Anita Ratnam’s ‘Nachiyar Next’, at the ‘Remembering Veenapani Festival’ 2023, in Puducherry.

Anita Ratnam’s ‘Nachiyar Subsequent’, on the ‘Remembering Veenapani Pageant’ 2023, in Puducherry.
| Picture Credit score:
Courtesy: Adishakti Theatre

Aside from live shows by Hindustani vocalist Siddhartha Belmannu and Tenma’s Kootali band, the pageant witnessed senior dancers partaking with their artwork in refreshing methods. ‘Naachiyar Subsequent’ by Anita Ratnam and her group of gifted dancers and musicians introduced Andal for Gen Subsequent by mixing conventional and modern components. Odissi exponent, Bijayini Satpathy, masterfully drew the viewers right into a sacred area by her choreographic work – ‘Abhipsaa – A Searching for.’

And there have been folks shows too — a pulsating Lavani efficiency and Rang-E-Thar’s haunting desert tunes.

Remembering Veenapani Pageant 2023 highlighted that dwell performances are ever so related, regardless of the schooling, creative coaching and urban-rural context of the viewers. Every performer appeared to take ahead Veenapani’s seek for new efficiency vocabularies and prospects.

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