Curtain call: Theatre and the German connection

Mr Charles Lewinsky started his address and I was enjoying the clippings of his plays. They were grand! I remember that one such play was performed on the banks of the lake Geneva. A huge, moving stage was built there. It seemed all his plays were grand. Of course, it helped that many plays received sponsorship from the state there
There is now a new announcement that theatres will open with 100% capacity from December 1. It is happening after 21 long months! It is wonderful to rehearse every day, just like old times. And now we are waiting for audiences to flock to the theatres in large numbers. (HT PHOTO)
There is now a new announcement that theatres will open with 100% capacity from December 1. It is happening after 21 long months! It is wonderful to rehearse every day, just like old times. And now we are waiting for audiences to flock to the theatres in large numbers. (HT PHOTO)
Published on Nov 28, 2021 04:21 PM IST
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ByNipun Dharmadhikari

The year was 2014. Goethe Institute Max Mueller Bhavan was celebrating its 100th anniversary in India. As part of their celebrations, they had invited a German writer from Switzerland - Mr Charles Lewinsky to address theatre practitioners in Pune and help them get acquainted with his work.

Mr Satish Alekar - one of the most important playwrights in India - was going to moderate the session. They had also asked a few of the young brigade in Pune to talk about their work. I was one of them.

Mr Lewinsky started his address and I was enjoying the clippings of his plays. They were grand! I remember that one such play was performed on the banks of the lake Geneva. A huge, moving stage was built there. It seemed all his plays were grand. Of course, it helped that many plays received sponsorship from the state there.

There was a meet and greet after the session and I had a chance to meet him. I do not know where I got the courage, but I asked him if he had a script that could be performed in India, in venues that were much smaller.

I was surprised that even he responded warmly. He thought about it and gave me his email ID. I emailed him after a week and was even more surprised to receive two of his scripts in my inbox!

I excitedly opened one of the them to start reading, forgetting the fact that they were in German, which I did not understand! Immediately I sent them to a friend who could read them and asked her to tell me their stories.

After nearly a week she got back and narrated their stories. I especially liked one of them. It dealt with the question “Why theatre?”. Something that I ask myself everyday. I started thinking about it and planning it in my head. I spoke to a few friends and even they seemed excited.

Before I could actively start this play, a film I was trying to get made was greenlit. Then another, different play. And before I knew it, I had directed three different plays and films. But I always had this play at the back of my mind.

The pandemic struck and the world came to a standstill. Theatre was affected the most. And it brought the question “Why theatre?” to the fore. I was reminded of that play again. And I realised that it has become even more relevant in the post Covid era.

I got it translated, and finally began its process after seven long years. There is now a new announcement that theatres will open with 100% capacity from the December 1. It is happening after 21 long months!

It is wonderful to rehearse every day, just like old times. And now we are waiting for audiences to flock to the theatres in large numbers.

Nipun Dharmadhikari is a storyteller and looks forward to telling them on stage, in front of the camera or in person.

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Monday, January 24, 2022