Explore the creative backstage at Prithvi Theatre’s annual youth theatre festival, Thespo, which will be held from December 15 to December 21. Now in its 16th edition, along with staging various plays, Thespo is conducting a series of workshops on theatre craft: stage planning, writing for theatre, lighting design and so on.
“Over the years, Thespo has developed a special focus on training young theatre practitioners across the country,” says Quasar Thakore Padamsee, artistic director of QTP, a theatre company, and co-founder of the festival. “We are roping in veterans to share their expertise with aspiring theatre professionals.”
The experts include playwright Mahesh Dattani, actor Shernaz Patel, director Alyque Padamsee and writer, director and lighting designer Arghya Lahiri. “The workshops are aimed at those who want to pursue theatre and those who enjoy it as a hobby,” adds Quasar Thakore Padamsee.
Close to 6,000 people are expected to attend the festival.
Arghya Lahiri, a Mumbai-based writer, director and lighting designer will host a workshop that will cover lighting theory, standard lamps and accessories. He will explain various ranges of lighting systems and rigs, and the best approach to using them in light plans and set design.
“There is no single lighting theory. There are various schools of thought,” says Lahiri. “However, the lighting of a play can be anything that you’d like it to be: purely functional, or very delicate. At its best, lighting becomes an intrinsic part of the performance, something that supports the players, and something that elevates the experience — it has the power to reinforce the magic of theatre.”
He stresses that unlike film, light in theatre is interpretive. The workshop will help participants gain that perspective.
The workshop will be intensive and largely hands-on. Participants will get their hands on lights, on the hardware, get into the tech room and, by the end of the day, design, rig, focus and execute a small light plan themselves.
Learn how to write for theatre
UK-based independent artist Rachael Clerke will host a writing workshop — Clerke works on writing for performances, websites and film.
Clerke will have the participants do a number of writing exercises, and they will critique each other’s works. “We will read to each other and edit other people’s texts, so that each piece of writing will go through a series of different processes and changes, and probably become something completely different by the end. Some storytelling exercises are also on cards,” she says. “The most important for writers is to focus on the audience, they live right in front of you. So, you need to communicate with them directly through your writing.”
Another writing workshop will be conducted by Mahesh Dattani, a playwright, stage director and film maker. He will take a workshop on the aesthetics of writing and acting in Indian English, which will explore the choices available to playwrights who choose to write dialogue.
The actor’s toolbox
This workshop will take a brief look at the tools that actors need to prepare. The areas of investigation include warm-ups, body language, voice modulation, imagination and ensemble work. “The workshop will be proactive and ‘on the floor’. I teach by doing, so all participants physically experience the work at hand,” says Glenn Hayden, an independent artist from New York.
“It is an old cliche but a true one — an actor’s body is their tool. He or she must be constantly in a prepared state, with body and mind, to work. This workshop will show some techniques to find that state,” he says.
For the full schedule, visit www.thespo.org.
BOX: Sign up
What: Workshops at Thespo, a youth theatre festival
When: December 15 to 21
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Juhu
Age group: Under 25
Cost: Prices start at Rs 300