TODAY -

In Search Of A New Language Of Theatre: Delhi Ibsen Festival

Usham Rojio *



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Kalakshetra Manipur's production "An Enemy Of The People" :: Picture Credit - BuzzinTown.com

Thou calm, serene but courageous Cicada,
Set to journey a tiny stream,
In the midway,
the deep water displays its existence.
In the midway,
Shows its currents, strength and madness.
Unable to cross it,
Unable to get across,
Thou, in wrath, full of angst
Standing on the bank, pronounced,
"O...thou water...
Why thou makest tidings?
Why thou deep water hinders?
O' Water, thou makest the heart umbrage
"



The seven day Delhi Ibsen Festival 2012 has started from December 1 to 7, 2012. Organised by the Norwegian Embassy and the Dramatic Art and Design Academy, the festival features plays of Henrik Ibsen performed by a range of avant garde troupes and directors from across the world. This year, two young Directors from India - Heisnam Tomba from Manipur and Sankar Venkateswaran from Kerala - have been commissioned for Delhi Ibsen Festival with other well-known international Directors like Staniewski and Ovlyakuli. The Padatik Group from Kolkata has opened the festival with "The Master Builder" directed by the Polish avant garde theatre director Wlodzimierz Staniewski on December 1, 2012. These are in addition to troupes from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Norway.

The closing of the festival is the performance of Kalakshetra Manipur's production. The Manipuri Director, Heisnam Tomba of Kalakshetra Manipur, is directing the Ibsen's famous play "An Enemy of the People". The play addresses the irrational tendencies of the masses, the hypocritical and corrupt nature of the political system that they support. The play's heated discussion of 'Just', who should control the levers of power in a society, whether the intellectually superior, forward-thinking individual or the mindless majority should dictate public policy, makes for savoury meat to chew on. It is the story of one brave man, whose voice loud and clear as cicada, struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance.

The co-ordinator of the production, Usham Rojio, in selecting this particular play, expresses, "The theme of the play is of contemporary relevance, essential issues of the time, the conflict between conventional and traditional world, and the tragic flaw of democracy. The play is very much relevant to the political scenario of contemporary Manipur." Kshetri Sanajaoba who initially translated the English text to Meiteilon expresses, "Ibsen spoke for individualism and emancipation against the compromises of liberalism and its limited ideas of freedom. True freedom, for Ibsen, is social freedom, spiritual freedom, freedom of thought and conscience. The play is very much important in the context of Manipur."

The Director, Heisnam Tomba says, "Initially I thought several times whether i should embark on this project or not after being invited. Finally I decided there is no harm in venturing this experiment. Finally it became interesting journey experimenting and working on Ibsen's theme keeping his universality intact. 'An enemy of the People' is being transformed to our own theatre, privileging the self of the actor over the character in reflection as a way of cathartic process. Ibsen's text is attempted to locate in a continuum of living theatre, sensitive to the sensory, energised by the power of sound and movement."

Tomba continues, "The causal and discursive dramaturgy of Henrik Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People' is attempted to transform into a dramaturgy "logical, sensuous and lyrical" through images created by body, sound and music to suit our own individualised theatre. We have collaborated extensively with our performers, designers, musicians, writers and scholars with an understanding and appreciation of distinct aesthetics, rhythms and sensibilities that each of us shared and brought into the production, making it an intercultural and multilingual performance."

Nissar Allana, the Director of the festival in his visit in Manipur last month, after observing the rehearsal of the play expressed, "Tomba's play is a different Ibsen altogether. His play is lyrical which is very interesting. No other production has attempted Ibsen's An Enemy of the People in such a manner."

Moving away from the demands of the Urban Theatre, Kalakshetra Manipur's team work together as a family in the vicinity of its premise situated at a hillside in the outskirt of Imphal city. The team wake up early morning at 4:00 am ready for morning walk, someday on the top of the hill, someday on the range of the hillside. Someday they went to the river playing with the water. Coming back from the morning walk, the team cleans and tidy up their rooms and their working spaces. Then, after a cup of tea, they begin their physical and vocal exercises developed by Kalakshetra Manipur under the guidance of Heisnam Kanhailal, Heisnam Sabitri and Heisnam Tomba in their 40 years of existence and research. The team then have their breakfast prepared themselves and some of them voluntarily prepared their lunch and the rest continue to rehearse their roles passing jokes laughing heartily at the fullest. After having their lunch they have an hour of nap then continue their rehearsal of the play till evening.

Interestingly, acting is not taught in Kalakshetra Manipur but a space of self creativity and of energising the body and sound is given to the actors by working together, laughing heartily, playing various indigenous games and theatre-oriented games. The effort here is to create a space interspersed and traversed by subjective interpretations of the team, of gestures, lyrical dialogues and musical movements, privileging the self of the actor and his/her impulse. A larger narrative of the process itself which was also realized as not always premeditated and consciously being 'performed' but rather events created out of spending time together in a series of happenings and the gradual unfolding of a somewhat coherent performance through several conflicts, opinions, indecision and false presumption.

One of the things which also emerged out of the process of rehearsals was the simultaneous lumps of these performances within a constantly changing space, along which the actors and the spectators moved from one fence to the other. The actors constantly having dialogue with the meadow, paddy field and streams of water as a part of their voice exercise creates a lingering soundscape that becomes not only a metaphorical matrix through language and mood but also served in enlarging the spatiality much beyond the theatrical studio space. As I realized, such voice and movement exercises gave direction to the choreography and composition of the scenes. These were developed and experimented through improvisation and the construction in the dramaturgy attempted to create and understand a possible new Ibsen in contrast to a realist 'Ibsenian style'.

Heisnam Tomba added, "The performance so far is a work-in-progress, journey in search of a new language of theatre keeping the Ibsen's universality intact. The play is being transformed to our own theatre, privileging the self of the actor over the character in reflection as a way of cathartic process. Ibsen's text is attempted to locate in a continuum of living theatre, sensitive to the sensory, energised by the power of sound and movement." The powerful rustic music by the director of the play is a language in itself. At this instant, the Kalakshetra Manipur is all set for the final show of the Delhi Ibsen Festival 2012 on December 7, 2012.


* Usham Rojio sent this news article to e-pao.net
The writer is a Research Scholar, School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and can be contacted at urojio[AT]gmail[DOT]com
This was posted on December 01, 2012 and later updated on December 14 2012.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Shaheed Manoranjan Football : Gallery
  • The hopeless traffic regulation
  • What was conveyed to RN Ravi? Classified..
  • Enakta Leiringei - Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Sagolshem Tijendra :: Sangeetbhusan
  • Day 8 : Hiyang Tanaba #2 : Gallery
  • Day 4: Martial Arts Exhibition : Gallery
  • Something :: Poem
  • Sangai International Digital Salon
  • Is science and religion in conflict ?
  • S/W Engineer @NetworkMaster, Canchipur
  • NPF Meeting 13 Dec: Setting record straight
  • Expecting wind of change
  • Reaching out to all stakeholders
  • The two sibling Machin moupa :: Funga
  • Lhingneichin, Lungsumpou: eMing
  • Day 4 : Eikhoigi Iranyai #2 : Gallery
  • Dance from Thailand & Zimbabwe : Gallery
  • All about understanding Bob Geldof
  • Career options in banking #2
  • Learning from Miss beauties
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Driver required for Distribution Company
  • Beggar culture shd be clean from mindset
  • In news for wrong reasons: Men in white
  • 305-cr Central aid for calamity-hit Manipur
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • Day 7: Dhol Chollom #1: Gallery
  • Day 7: Manipuri Folk Song : Gallery
  • Why hurry Mapithel dam commissioning?
  • Hello, Dear Chief Minister
  • International Human Rights Day
  • Love in Car :: Poem
  • Army's assistance to accident victims
  • Conference: Handloom Sector Challenges
  • Nupi Lan -A reminder to respect women
  • Centrepiece: New Writing & Art from NE
  • NE artisans to get online platform
  • Nupi Lan comes: Double standard has to go
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Folk Tales of Manipur, Vol 1 : Book Review
  • Prize Distribution : Polo : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kangpokpi Cultural : Gallery
  • Sweet sixteen :: Poem
  • Nagaland CM respond to Neiphiu Rio
  • Jobs at NIELIT Kolkata
  • Jobs at Cobigent Technologies
  • Some positive introspective on FA
  • Deep divide FA: Scheduled human chain
  • Naga talks: Ravi to consult 5 Manipuris
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women's War Of Manipur
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @ Mao #1 : Gallery
  • Day 4: Folk Song @Kangjeibung #2 : Gallery
  • Naga peace & deals within rebel structure
  • Volunteers create worlds
  • Bishnupriya Manipuris call 101hr blockade
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #1 : Gallery
  • Day 7: Stalls @Khonangkhong #2 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Maibi Jagoi @Kangjeibung #2: Gallery
  • Day 5: Thang Ta @ BOAT #1 : Gallery
  • New Residential Design in Foothills
  • Accreditation of diagnostic laboratories
  • 'Swachh Hi Sewa' in Rono Hills by RGU
  • Jingle Bells Season 2 kicks off
  • Appointment for Faculty / Trainers
  • Humiliation to mother earth
  • Question to BJP: Mum on critical posers
  • WC seeks views for political solution
  • China taking keen interest on NE militancy
  • Tekcham Ranjita- FIFA Referee : Profile
  • Day 7 : Pherzawl Artistes : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kathak & Manipuri Dance: Gallery
  • Welcome Yongchak in Manipur household
  • US recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital
  • CADA Imphal Committee re-organized
  • Hopes for a new future
  • Make Orange Fest more meaningful
  • Day 3 : Night Scene @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • Three-headed men- Makok ahum :: Funga
  • Junior Boy's Inter District Football : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Thailand Dance #2 : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Artistes from Kamjong : Gallery
  • The Green Lotus :: Poem
  • FIFA honour for Manipur referee
  • Nothing on inter-state borders in FA
  • Urgent call to look in the function of COHSEM
  • Of collaboration ... Manipur and Nagaland
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Orange Festival @Tamenglong #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Mandalay Vs Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • AFC Transformation Challenge : Gallery
  • The Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • When rejection is more lethal than HIV
  • Walk-In: Guest Lecturers @Govt Polytechnic
  • Penguin Fever- literary festival in Shillong
  • NE Flavours opens in Delhi promote NE
  • Calls for Recreation
  • Setting a deadline before the Govt
  • Finals @ Polo International : Gallery
  • Day 5 : Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Day 8: Trekking @Leimaton #2 : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Folk Song @ BOAT #1 : Gallery
  • Career options in banking
  • Of tongue cleaner and angels
  • Screening: Aribam Syam's Biopic @Delhi
  • Hiring Charge for BOAT
  • Sexual relation main reason for HIV
  • Preconceived mode of protest
  • Manipur and people : Take collective stand
  • Day 4 : Hmar Fahrel Tawklam : Gallery
  • Jadonang Football [11 Nov] : Gallery
  • Workshop on Nano Devices at IIT-G
  • Advent season 2017
  • Kovindji on Mirabai and Manipur
  • Jobs at Sanglakpam IT Solutions
  • Baking Assistant @Michelle's Bakery
  • Launch of North East Flavours, Delhi
  • Protests against eviction of tribals
  • K Radhakumar's Atopa Shangsar Amada
  • Reminding the issue of permit system
  • Time for State BJP to state stand
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Day 10 : Fashion Show #1 : Gallery
  • Day 9 : Heritage Park : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Qawwali @ BOAT : Gallery
  • Challenges before media w.r.t Manipur
  • Development in Jiribam & Pherzawl #2
  • Recruitment mode of Asst Prof
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Day 3 : Night Scene @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • Community gardening @Ema Keithel: Gallery
  • Day 6: 'Reel of Dance' #1 : Gallery
  • Day 6: Pamyanlon Folk Dance : Gallery
  • Thus spake the moonstruck :: Poem
  • 1st Double Renal Angioplasty in Manipur
  • Rohingya crisis: Talk at Philippine University
  • Getting the big picture
  • Gold after 2 decade: Sports Powerhouse
  • Day 9: Robert Naorem's Fashion : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Day 9: Phoushu Jagoi : Gallery
  • Day 2: Dhol Dholok Cholom : Gallery
  • 11th Manipur Polo International #2 :: Gallery
  • Govt needs tool for Sangai Fest Impact study
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #1 : Gallery
  • Araang League 2017 (Football) @Ukhrul
  • Celebrating World AIDS Day
  • The good & some bad of Sangai Fest
  • International Kang Tournament : Gallery
  • Day 8: Trekking @Leimaton #1 : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kom Dance performance : Gallery
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #3 :: Gallery
  • Is it Meetei or Meitei ?
  • The Buddha's Metta and Karuna #4
  • MUTA Colloquium Series : Vision for MU
  • Is our legal system responsible ?
  • Unique history of Nagas ... of Manipur
  • NSF memo to Prez 'for solution before polls'
  • Day 8: Hiyang Tanaba #1 : Gallery
  • Day 7: Stalls @Khonangkhong #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Leisem Jagoi : Gallery
  • 'One never stops learning in Polo'
  • Cherry Blossoms as a catalyst of change..
  • Mining tussles in Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Free media: hope for success of democracy
  • Far sight leader in Muivah: Looking beyond
  • Day 7: Night Scene (Hot Air Balloon) : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 7: Fashion Show #1 : Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 6: Thai Dance : Gallery
  • Supertree - Kannimara Mahavriksha
  • Beware of women centric cyber offences
  • Understanding education
  • No longer 'communal Govt'
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla: Gallery
  • Maibi Jagoi @Kangjeibung #1 : Gallery
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #2 :: Gallery
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #2 :: Gallery
  • Day 5: Mandalay Vs Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Khongjhom Parva / Maring Dance :: Gallery
  • Dhanamanjuri Kang Tournament :: Gallery
  • Day 2: Basanta Ras/Dasa Avataar : Gallery
  • Felicitation of Manipuri students at B'desh
  • Dr. Ngaseppam Iboyaima : Awarded in food
  • Day 3 : Pureiromba Naheirol :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : MMTA Adventure :: Gallery
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo [7 Nov] :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #5 :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #5 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #2 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS