Revival of the dying performing arts


Serendipity Arts Festival has brought together some of the brightest minds in the respective fields. In the scene of the performing arts, there is Anuradha Kapoor, who has been associated with the National School of Drama and from the other spectrum there is Lillete Dubey, a prominent theatre and film personality. Together they have brought eh best of both worlds, one being the theoretical side the other being a practitioner to fill the void that is present in the scene of theatre and drama today.
“When we first started, we had to discuss what was the lacuna today, and how do we fill that void. Hence we have got workshops to teach the nuances of theatre, apart from showcasing some of the good productions,” said Lillete Dubey. In this light there is the Scriptwriter’s Lab, the Storytelling Workshop and also a Talatum Workshop, beside the actual presentation of ‘The Tempest’, where as an intensive educational initiative, to carry forward the circus as a serious theatre practice. This includes a circus workshop series for young theatre enthusiasts and drama students from across the country.
Structured as a three-day course in circus techniques, it will provide an opportunity for students to understand and par take the complexities of circus practice, hoping to be a stepping stone for professional possibilities in the future. A combination of practical and theoretical learning, this series will explore forms such as physical theatre, clowning, scenography, circus martial arts, etc., as well as sessions on management of the circus.
The reason why the ‘Talatum’ is a big part of the Festival is that the curators wanted to revive the dying arts. “Talatum’ is more of a circus act which is telling a story of the ‘Tempest’. We have seen that the circus art is dying and with that the livelihoods of those dependant on it is also being threatened and the circus artistes once they finish an act, they don’t know where to go back to. So when we got this idea, it seemed an ideal project to bring it to the Serendipity,” said Anuradha.
The play being set in a circus tent is an embodiment of what the festival is about. “It has music, dance, theatre, and acrobats all in one. This resonated with the Festival’s aim of being multidisciplinary,” said Dubey. She further stated that the entire production cost was born by the Serendipity Trust who will be giving the structure of the tents and other props free of cost to the troupe. “After Serendipity, there are plans of taking the ‘Talatum’ to other places, across the Indian region,” said Dubey.
Revival of old traditions is one of the aims the curators kept in mind while deciding on the programme. “It is more like old traditions merged into a new interpretation. Not only will we be preserving the older traditions in this way, but also recording and documenting the things that are happening right now, like the making of the play and all the other aspects,” said Anuradha.
While speaking about the Festival as a whole, both were of the opinion that the freedom to work is commendable. “It is unusual for a festival to give so much freedom to the curators, and we are happy that the organisers gave us so much freedom,” said Anuradha.
(‘Taltatum’ will be held from December 21 to December 23 at SAG Ground from 6.15 to 7.45 p.m. and 8.15 to 9.45 p.m. It is a ticketed show and the price range is from Rs 500 to Rs 1000 and are available at the venue. For details log on to