Deepika Arwind’s Play: I am Not Here

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Critic: Manohar Khushalani in Conversation with the Director: Deepika Arwind

Playwright & Director: Deepika Arwind
Group: The Lost Post Initiative, Bangalore
Language: English
Duration: 1 hr 10 mins

Watch Manohar Khushalani’s Review about the play in the video above

The Play
i am not here is designed as an 8-step guide in how to censor women’s writing, which plays out in a boxing ring. In parts dark, funny and brutal, the dance-theatre production looks at the subtle, almost-invisible and insidious ways in which women’s writing has often been flicked to the fringes. The two women performers enter the boxing ring, watching and being watched, often at unease with what they must do to ‘show’ you this guide. Their bodies transform: they play men, women and creatures. A frying pan is a metaphor for a chalkboard on which freedom is contested ; a traditional dance class reveals the impossible ways in which women’s bodies are written about, a chick-lit writer reads a review about herself in public … Abundant with movement and haunting music, the play seeks new form, and heightens and complicates the audience and performers.

Director’s Note
What is the cost of dissent, of protest in performance? Why is it always important to bear wounds in front of an audience to ‘convince’ them of lived reality? What is the silence after the protest like? Is it broken, like the two actors who piece together broken words at the end of this ‘show’; is there meaning to be made, new language to be formed. i am not here is as much about language and writing as it is about silence. It is as much about protest as it is about its aftermath. This aftermath is embodied by two female performers, because who else will embody it? i am not here continues an experiment I began with my last work No Rest in the Kingdom about gender and performance, and the intersection of the two in the female performer’s body, and its significance as a site of protest.

The Director & Playwright
Deepika Arwind is a theatre-maker, playwright and performer based out of Bangalore, India. She works as the Artistic Director of The Lost Post Initiative (TLPI), a theatre and performing arts collective that works with diverse artists, largely around gender and women on stage. She is a scholar of the Internationales Forum at Theatretreffen ’18, and presented her work at The John F Kennedy Centre of Performing Arts ’16 and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin ’18. She has won and been nominated for several awards for her work, including The Hindu Playwright Award, the Stückemarkt Prize at Theatretreffen, and the Toto Award. Her current touring works nationally and internationally are No Rest in the Kingdom (produced by Sandbox Collective) and i am not here (supported by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore). Her previous works, among others, include A Brief History of Your Hair (supported by India Foundations for the Arts) and Nobody Sleeps Alone. She is the author of a children’s book Sarayu (published by Le Cosmographe Éditions, France, 2018).

The Group
The Lost Post Initiative is a theatre and performing arts collective largely working with themes around gender. Much of the work looks at the female performer’s body as a site of protest and possibility. Works include Nobody Sleeps Alone, a Brief History of Your Hair, No Rest in the Kingdom, i am not here, among others.

Cast & Credits
Devised & Performed by Ronita Mookerji & Sharanya Ramprakash

Light Design Pritham Kumar
Light Execution Niranjan Gokhale
Music & Vocals Nikhil Nagaraj, Pallavi MD
Set J Dinesh
Producer Veena Appiah
Assistant Akash Narendran
Dramaturge Theresa Schlesinger
Supported by Goethe-Institut Bangalore / Max Mueller Bhavan

Playwright, Design
& Director Deepika Arwind

Contacts
Director, The Lost Post Initiative
258, 3 Rd Main, BHCS Layout, Uttarahalli
Main Road, Bangalore, Karnataka-560061
M: +91 9845272215
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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