Anuja Ghosalkar’s acclaimed one-woman play, Lady Anandi, is set for a reboot. With snazzier lights and production
Bengaluru-based theatre artist Anuja Ghosalkar conceptualised Lady Anandi during an art residency in Sweden. It was also the country where this one-woman play was performed for the first time. Lady Anandi is the story of F, an actor-writer haunted by the ghost of her great grandfather, a real-life female impersonator in Marathi theatre in the late 1800s. In less than a year, the play has travelled to Mumbai, Delhi, and was staged in Bengaluru. And if Ghosalkar’s crowdfunding project manages to reach its target of Rs 2.5 lakh, she plans to take it back to Sweden, the place where it all began.
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“Personal archives and family history have always intrigued me. I had already done an oral history project with my grandfather, who was the oldest living make-up artist in India,” she says. This deep interest in family history helped her create the characters for Lady Anandi. “Two actors, separated by 100 years, one who plays women characters convincingly, the other, me, struggling to even stand like a lady,” adds Ghosalkar.
With the funds, Ghosalkar plans to give her experimental documentary theatre piece a technical upgrade. “I didn’t have light design and I paid my production team almost nothing, so hopefully I can change that,” she says. Though the performance is meant to look unfinished, almost DIY, it will need support like a projector to play out visuals and good-quality sound.
The play will also be able to travel to cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Trichur. “I plan to do more shows in Mumbai and Delhi,” she adds.
Till now, Ghosalkar was funding the project herself and with collaborations with venue partners like Sitara Studio in Mumbai and Tadpole in Delhi. The feedback, too, has been favourable. “At a secret show in Mumbai, we asked audiences to carry a photo of someone from their family. It was a special show because the audience members came on a journey with me, reliving their past,” she says. Such will be the nature of the upcoming shows. “With this project, the script evolves all the time. With or without money, it morphs. The audience and my process determines the script,” says Ghosalkar.
To pledge your support, visit ketto.org/ladyanandi. The campaign is on till July 29.