Daniil Kharm’s Play: Mondays are best for flying out of windows

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Playwright: Daniil Kharms
Director: Rajiv Krishnan
Group: Perch, Chennai
Language: English
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Play
A girl finds a job as a cashier in your store, turns the handle on the cash-till and dies. What do you do? Stick a mushroom in her hand and pretend she’s alive. People throw themselves off windows, they leap out of cupboards, they spend maddeningly long hours in queues, they attack each other with snot and cucumbers, they fall, they sleep, they fight, they die. This is the world of Daniil Kharms. Chaotic, absurd, sometimes frightening, often incomplete. And you find that the only rational response is to laugh. The worse it gets, the more you laugh. Kharms is the master of dark laughter. It’s so ridiculous, so absurd, it can’t be true, right? Right?

Director’s Note
Our approach to Kharms was from a state of complete unknowing. A piece of text, a thought, an idea or an image triggered off our explorations. The entire process was a challenging one to say the least. This play represents our individual and collective response to Kharms, conceived in a true spirit of collaboration.
Puppets play an important role in this piece. The choice of working with puppets was a chance occurrence. Not being trained puppeteers we started from scratch, using storytelling as a guide. Like every piece of ours, we see this work too as a work in progress, evolving as we present it to audiences. And as much as we want to engage and provoke you, the audience, we hope that you will engage with the piece and provoke us in turn. In true Kharmsian spirit, we invert the typical theatre greeting and direct it to the audience – Break a leg!

The Director
Rajiv Krishnan is a theatre director and actor based in Chennai. His first play as a director was an adaptation of the comic satire Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Dario Fo) in 2000. In 2004, he organized a fortnight long festival called ‘Angloscapes’ focused on the Anglo-Indian community for which he co-adapted and directed a play inspired by Tennessee Williams Glass Menagerie in English. It was with this festival that the theatre collective Perch informally came into being.

The Playwright
Daniil Kharms (1905-1942), was an early Soviet era absurdist poet, writer and dramatist. He was often incarcerated by the Stalinist regime of his time for his unconventional and rebellious ways. His adult literature was not published during his lifetime and he was confined to writing for children. He is said to have starved to an anonymous death in the psychiatric ward of a Soviet hospital after being arrested during the siege of Leningrad in 1942. His stories defy easy characterization – they may start humorously but quickly turn dark, many featuring random acts of violence.

The Group
Perch is a theatre collective based in Chennai. It was formed by a motley bunch of actors, designers, filmmakers, journalists and others in 2008. Perch has been constantly exploring new ways of storytelling on a variety of themes from pure fantasy to contemporary Indian reality, from humour to political satire. Starting with adaptations of well- known plays and short stories, they have also explored devised work which is multilingual, collaborative and ensemble driven with a strong focus on visual design and music.

Cast & Credits
Created & Performed  by Iswar Lalitha, Rency Philip, Sachin Gurjale, Vijay Ravikumar, Vinod Ravindran

Music                                                   Abhaydev Praful
Photography                                        Richa Bhavanam
Costumes                                            Kaveri Lalchand
Puppets and Prop making                   Iswar Lalitha, Rency Philip, Sachin Gurjale, Vijay Ravikumar, Vinod Ravindran
Set and Light Design                            Kalpana Balaji, John V. Mathew
Production Management                      Anushka Meenakshi, Bharavi

Commissioned by The Serendipity Arts Festival

Playwright                                          Daniil Kharms
Director                                              Rajiv Krishnan

Contacts
Director, Perch
7, Bazullah Road, T Nagar
Chennai, Tamil Nadu- 600017
M: +91 9840700567
E: [email protected]

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Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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