Online formats will be an extension of the theatre universe: Akarsh Khurana
We’re slowly getting comfortable with the idea of different formats,” says director Akarsh Khurana who is known for staging several successful plays including Damages and All About Women. His latest on-stage directorial, under his banner AKvarious Productions, is titled Timeloss is based on an Iranian story written by the iconic playwright Amir Reza Koohestani. The play can be streamed on 4th, 5th and 6th September at 7pm on Front and Centre by Paytm Insider.
The virtual stage is not new for the director. “We (his production) have been busy since the beginning of the lockdown. Besides regular content on our Instagram profile, we already did two productions. First, Bubble, an interesting play on Zoom, way before that was a common thing. And then, we did a recorded version of Love, Bombs and Apples by Hassan Abdulrazzak, which was a series of monologues,” he says.
For Timeloss, Khurana adds that there was not “real research” that happened. He elaborates, “I saw a recording of the original. I was quite taken by it. I wanted to do it. I read up what I could about Timeloss, its prequel Dancing on Glasses, and the playwright. And while the story behind the play was very inspiring, I just wanted to tell the story that the play told, of a fractured relationship.”
The troupe comprises of Chaitnya Sharma, Dilshad Edibam Khurana, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, and Siddharth Kumar. Ask Akarsh how is it that Iran, despite having stringent laws, continues to make world class art and what can we learn from it, he says, “I think what we can learn is to value the liberty we have to tell stories, and hence respect the content and the audience more. As opposed to taking any of it for granted. The tales of cultural uprisings and performing against the law and the odds are inspirational examples of the triumph of the human spirit. Makes one sit up and take notice of both the power and the impact of art.”
Khurana, however, is certain that nothing can ever replace stage. “Those days will return, but owing to the experiences of this lockdown, and the initiatives such as Front and Centre, I do believe that online formats will become an extension of the theatre universe. Offline theatre will exist in harmony with its online iterations,” he concludes.