I Don't Like It, As You Like It
This is an interesting take on the concepts of identity and relationships and how one affects the other through the tool of the play-within-a-play. It also explores the often tragi-comic and yet deeply profound meaning Shakespeare’ clowns have traditionally brought into a narrative.
This is an interesting take on the concepts of identity and relationships and how one affects the other through the tool of the play-within-a-play. A troupe of clowns has not been doing too well lately. Thanks to their spiralling financial status, their interpersonal relationships are awful with everyone hating each other. Amidst this turmoil, the director tries to put up a Shakespeare play and decides that the men will play women and women, men. The troupe manages to put up a show eventually, and discover a new truth: to really find ourselves, we must first become other people.
The pattern for me over the last 15 years has been ‘creation’ as it is called in theatre parlance. For about 20 years, I directed written texts — these were plays by Genet, Beckett, Albee, Brecht, Karnad, amongst others. By the mid-90s, I had also started writing film scripts for myself - pushing myself further into ‘telling my own stories’. The first play that came out of this process was C for Clown. We started with a simple idea - a play about clowns. I did not know any more than that clowns fascinated me, and I wanted to explore deeper.
Rehearsals were a process of exploration - we started working with objects, music, language, and this led us to discovering a powerful speech tool, which is no speech at all, and yet so expressive. We started working with actors. And slowly, characters emerged, a plot came about and finally a play. The process was exhilarating.
I firmly believe that the mind is a limited organ. What you can think is limited. But what you learn from experience is huge, and what you achieve if one can be open to experiential learning can be bigger. If only we had enough courage to follow our instincts, the world of imagination is laid bare, and one ends up in a place of rare beauty. And the joy of reaching there can be transmitted to the audience. That for me is the only worthwhile artistic journey.