Philippe Pelen Baldini’s Play: Vast


Playwright & Director: Phillippe Pelen Baldini
Group: Surya Performance Lab, Auroville (T.N.)
Language: English
Duration: 1 hr

The Play
This is the story of a young boy from Nepal who has been abducted and taken away from his family and home in the Himalayan Mountains. Kidnapped and abused, he now lives in a slum in a big city in India. He is all alone in the world, living stifled in his small room. He tries, day after day, to find in his body a door that opens to the ‘Vast’, a path to his Himalaya, and his own limitless nature, beyond confinement and misery. An encounter with a strange character helps him on his journey. This is the god Hanuman, with monkey and human features, heroic, wise, and full of humour.
Vast is an organic, physical and dance based performance that is hypnotic, emotional and universal. It showcases how the human body carries in itself the memory of the ‘Vast’. How the human body – beyond ruptures, oppression and confinements – has the nostalgia of nature and vastness.

Director’s Note
For the young boy whose childhood and dreams were shattered, the journey from confinement to freedom is a process of reconnection with nature and with himself, without any limitation. In this journey he is helped by Hanuman. Together they reconnect with the ‘Vastness’ they both come from. Hanuman is introduced here as a special character, the symbol of primordial memory. The play proposes a work on the memory of the body.
We are also exploring the relationship between body and the mother-tongue, between body and the ancient mantric poetry, between body and words. We draw upon contemporary dance, theatre, vocal work, and even aerial dance to explore this inner territory between confinement and Vastness. From gravity to weightlessness, it is also an exploration of the body being free in three dimensions, and of its expansion into Vastness.

The Director & Playwright
Born in France, Phillippe Pelen Baldini is the founder of Surya Performance Lab in India. He had earlier founded the International Talipot Theatre in Reunion Island, France. He has created and directed 40 shows with dancers, actors, musicians, and video creators from Africa, India, Europe and territories in the Indian Ocean. His productions have been welcomed at Opera de Paris, Théâtre de la Ville de Paris and well-known festivals in Honk Kong, Singapore, Italy, Brazil and South Africa. He has toured and worked in 82 countries. His shows have received awards in Poland, Scotland, France, Italy and South Africa, among other countries. He also directs workshops worldwide with professional dance companies, universities, townships and communities. He is interested in indigenous culture and has worked a lot with people from different ethnic groups in South Africa including the San communities as well as other different communities.

The Group
Surya Performance Lab is a dance-theatre company based in Auroville, India. In its 50-year long history it has worked with devoted artists and has performed in more than 82 countries. This professional company is directed by Philippe Pelen Baldini and Thierry Moucazambo. The group welcomes dancers, actors, photographers, video designers, painters, etc. from India and all over the world. Surya Performance Lab endeavours to create a bridge between art, science and consciousness. Inspired by the ‘First people’, indigenous cultures, ancient traditions, new discoveries in the field of body-mind consciousness and quantum science, it creates a contemporary expression and art, a new dramaturgy holistic and humanist, open to nature and the planet.

Cast & Credits
Performers                                      Thierry Moucazambo, Gopal Dalami

Light Technician                              Ashwin Ezhumalai

Assistant Director                           Thierry Moucazambo
Director and Choreographer          Philippe Pelen Baldini

Director, Surya Performance Lab
E-4, Sunship Apartments, Auroville, Bommayapalayam,
Tamil Nadu, Auroville, Tamil Nadu 605101
M: +91 8903869078

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government 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: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: 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 was 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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