mind adventures

an experimental theatre company set up in sri lanka in 1999.

much kneeded

so it’s been a little over a week since ‘checkpoint’ closed, and i’ve been feeling a little lost. most theatre chappies will tell you that this happens once a show closes. we call it withdrawl symptoms. you miss the cast, the crew, the show and the characters you played. the buzz of being in front of an audience, the stolen ‘fag breaks’, the secrets, the laughing, the bitching…you even miss the mad contortionist moves of the ‘broom dance’ and that inexplicably placed block of cement that’s in front of the basement elevator at the british school.

sometimes though, characters have a way of staying with you long after the show is gone. it could be a phrase, it could be a facial expression or an accent or, as in my case, it could be a physical souvenir.

take my toes, for instance, they still bear the scars of ‘widows’ which was in 1998, during which i was nightly dragged across the stage for a good drubbing at the hands of nasty army-type actors. oh well, at least it’s good leverage for when people i direct try to wheedle their way out of some move or the other. a simple ‘look at my toes’ and short history is usually enough. emotional blackmail. heh. ya gotta love it.

so this time, i have a set of magnificently scarred knees to keep me company (yes i do spend ages staring at them when i think of the show – but mostly i am wondering wtf did it happen to me, and how long will the bruises take to go away). yes, friends, carpet burn is a terrible thing – especially when what you were doing was kneeling on a carpet, and generally running round, pretending to be a little girl who has lots of fun mutilating a whole bunch of dolls, with your best friend (no, nimmi didn’t get carpet burn.)

playing that kid was a leetle freaky. i had to kind of shut my mind to what i was doing, ‘cos i kept thinking of my little daughter for some reason. doing the ‘auction’ and the ‘broom dance’ was so much fun for me though. especially the ‘broom dance’ because i am a huge fan of physical theatre and am longing to do more. judging from all the responses we got, i think ru’s last minute gamble to drop ‘the 24 hour store’ and replace it with ’24 hours’ which we had yet to create, really came up aces. verbatim theatre is the way forward.

we asked the audience to take a little time and write down their comments after the show. these were then stuffed into two ballot boxes which accompanied us every night to our after-show drinking venue. we’d read them out over dinner and drinks, before the effects of amal’s compulsory ‘bottoms up’ sessions took a hold of us. the response to the forum theatre was fabulous, especially for the one about the ethnic conflict. and what amazed me, as it did 5 years ago, was how quickly a group of relative strangers achieved a sense of community and consensus – albeit divided – while trying to resolve the crisis on stage.

there were a few negative comments, the funniest of which asserted that the audience member saw no creativity whatsoever in the conception of ’24 hours’. obviously, he/she will have a much better experience at ‘venice’.

so thank you very much to everyone who took the time to give us your feedback. it was very encouraging for all of us, and especially for ‘stages’, i’m sure.

this show is going to the south asian theatre festival in new delhi in january, and we’re looking for people to help us get there, so if you think you can put in a good word for us with people who have lots of money…contact the stages theatre group.

support your local artists! be sri lankan, buy sri lankan or…er…give sri lankan theatre your money.

thank you and good night.

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5 Comments»

  Denial wrote @

Hey I was there at your show. It mesmorised me beyond my wildest imagination. I left a comment as well. It was a very positive one and I hope you all weren’t too high when it was read.
There was a comment from someone I know who watched the program. She’s a girl who used to live in Jaffna who was severely affected by the war. She said the whole doll thing was very difficult to stomach. She enjoyed the rest of it though. I guess looking at it in her point of view it was a very brutal interpretation of the truth.
Anyway I hope you keep up the good work and go from strength to strength.

P.S Excuse my spelling. Its usually horrible without spellcheck…..

  deshan wrote @

will you marry me?

  daytripper wrote @

gosh, i’m flattered, but actually i’m already married to a real hottie whose fits of jealous rages are legendary. unfortunately though, he had an accident at a hidden thermonuclear power plant recently, and the result is that his face became permanently melded to his nikon d-70. unsurprisingly, he now lurks quietly on the fringes of society and you can only tell that he’s been there by the quiet click-click of his shutter and the lingering odour of viceroy cigarettes.

  SweetIdiot wrote @

OHHHHHHH! THAT guy! I’ve bumped into him several times. Didn’t know he was your husband…keeps snapping pictures of me! The horror!

  deshan wrote @

Yes you are, but i still take the pictures, eh?


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