This experimental play is uniting the world though local traditions | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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This experimental play is uniting the world though local traditions

The experimental play, Rags of Memory, combines cultural nuances from across the world to depict concepts of life and death

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Feb 25, 2016 16:25 IST
Poorva Joshi
The experimental play, Rags of Memory, combines cultural nuances from across the world to depict concepts of life and death.
The experimental play, Rags of Memory, combines cultural nuances from across the world to depict concepts of life and death.

A projection of three light rings illuminate the stage; they symbolise earthly elements: soil, stone, water and fire. A man and a woman stand on-stage, performing mysterious rituals as they sing a haunting tune. As they continue conversing through the song, they suddenly break into a dance performance.

The movements are a mix of contemporary choreography and tribal dance movements. This is the setting of Rags of Memory, a play that describes the cycle of life and death as an ongoing, universal ritual, across cultures.

An abstract and experimental theatrical performance, it will be staged for the first time in Mumbai, this weekend. The hour-long play incorporates music, dance, film and projection photography.

“The project combines cultural traditions and innovations from across the world through art. The task was to create a platform where cultural exchange was possible through performances, so we could find a common language to connect with each other,” says Nicola Pianzola, an Italian theatre actress and the co-creator of the play.

A projection of three light rings illuminate the stage; they symbolise earthly elements: soil, stone, water and fire.

Colour therapy

To create the “common cultural platform” the makers of the play incorporated the use of colour projections. “Colours universally symbolise traditional elements. For instance, in Italy, white represents innocence and fertility; red denotes passion and pain and black symbolises death. In other countries, these colours represent other feelings. Using such cultural nuances, we encourage the audience to experience and interpret the story for themselves ,” explains Pianzola.

And to further the global reach of the play, the makers have even involved many local artists into the play since it play was first performed in Italy, in 2006. “We worked with artists from all over the world, including Italy, Mexico and South Korea. Linguistic barriers notwithstanding, we were able to recreate a common language that stemmed from the traditional elements of each performer. The current play has evolved through their contributions,” says Pianzola.

The hour-long play incorporates music, dance, film and projection photography.

The bigger picture

Beyond artistic endeavours, the creators of Rags of Memory have a larger project on their plates. As part of a long-term research, director Anna Dora Dorno and Pianzola aim to encourage the inclusion of performing arts as part of main stream society. “We hope to transform cultural elements such as local rituals into tools of expressing personal opinions. We want to merge tradition with the contemporary times,” says Pianzola.

Don’t miss

What: Rags of Memory will premiere on February 28 at 6pm

Where: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point

Entry: Free