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Piecing together Conversations

chandigarh Updated: Feb 01, 2014 10:29 IST
Nanki Singh

When we think of going to watch a play, we tend to think of big sweeping productions that are mostly based on the works of noted playwrights. But, Mumbai-based theatre personality Jyoti Dogra promises you the exact opposite with her play, Notes on Chai, which she would present at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, today.

A follower of the Grotowski performance technique that was developed by Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski, Jyoti tells us a little about it. “I wanted to move away from text-based pieces as I like working with the body and expressing more through my movements,” she says, adding, “This particular performance is based on looking for your inner voice, encouraging originality and finding your own language. I don’t believe many people here are following this process.”

A solo performer, Jyoti believes that the amount of time she invests in one play makes it impossible for her to work with a group, even though she initially worked with various theatre groups. Solo performances though, tend to leave space for overindulgence, so one wonders where the artist feels the need to draw the line. “It is true that one can get carried away, but one should be open to brutal criticism and constantly analyse and introspect,” suggests Jyoti, who has been working on her own for the last eight years.

Notes on Chai, she says, is a collection of snippets of everyday conversations interwoven with abstract sound explorations that attempt to relocate our relationship with the mundane. The piece juxtaposes the speech with segments that use the voice simply as an instrument of sound. “To put it more simply, it explores everyday conversations over tea,” she says.

"This particular performance is based on looking for your inner voice and encouraging originality." she added.

Having directed the play, Jyoti felt she needed the opinion of her trusted friends and colleagues to keep her second directorial piece on track, as she considers herself to be more of an actor. “I am also very interested in finding out the path of what is real and what is not through my work,” says she, while mentioning another play that she acted in and co-directed with German video artist Bernd Lützeler, called Kº, based on Franz Kafka’s writings.

While the scope of theatre might have seemed to narrow down due to the boom in TV shows and movies, Jyoti believes people won’t stop reacting — be it positively or otherwise — to a well-crafted piece on stage.

Mumbai-based theatre actor-director Jyoti Dogra will dissect everyday dialogue in her play, Notes on Chai, that is to be staged in the city today.

The play starts at 6.30 pm