Road to Edinburgh
Hello and welcome! This is the first of many thoughts concerning Kalagora and the journey of the show as we head up to the Edinburgh Fringe in August. I’m really excited and looking forward to performing for the whole month at ZOO Roxy. I’m currently deep in rehearsals with the inspiring theatre director Russell Bender and our new associate director, Joy Mills. A quick shout out to the rest of the Kalagora team including producer-maestro and Penned in the Margins architect Tom Chivers, filmmaker and video-designer Maria Tzika, sound designer Ed Lewis, lighting designer McDeath, and our new costume designer Mila Sanders. And of course there’s the fabulous Pankaj Awasthi all the way from Mumbai, whose Indo-electronica and Sufi-inflected mashup provides the surreal soundscape for our show .
To begin at the beginning. Kalagora is a coming of age tale that crosses continents (Asia, North America, Europe) and emerges from the complexities of experience generated in three global megacities (Mumbai, New York, London). It’s a theatre show that uses poetry, video installation, and music to tell a very personal story of a fictional global wanderer as he moves through multiple homes and identities. At the core of his story is a life-long addiction to the grotesqueness of the ‘animal city’ and its endless possibilities for self-invention. There’s violence, there’s blood and gore. And, as in any story that matters, there’s a search for love and belonging. During the course of an hour, I play roughly twenty characters, from a midget tobacconist to paranoid immigration officers and cross-dressing hedonists.
The show has developed considerably since our premiere last October at RichMix, London, which in itself marked a culmination of intensive R&D work that started in May 2010. After finishing the first leg of the tour earlier this year, I went through a period of re-writing the central ‘act’ of the play, which is set in New York. New characters emerged, and the story I really wanted to tell became clearer. And darker. Russell and I continued our intensive, Lecoq-inflected, physical work in order to develop the characters and the arc of the story. And through this, I feel that I’ve learnt a lot regarding performance and (the elimination) of fear (more on this soon). Be endlessly open, find things, explore.
Now we’re all really excited about taking this show up to Edinburgh! It’s great to see how our core team has an international flavour: an Indian writer/actor, a musician who has scored Bollywood films, an English producer, an English director, a Greek filmmaker, and an American associate director. We’ve all brought our vastly varied experiences into making this show. Maria and I have filmed in our three cities, and the show itself was born in the most global of them all (London). I’d like to think that this accidental internationalism fits hand-in-glove with the themes of the show itself. We live in a global world, and art must reflect this reality. With this in mind, we’re ready to roll, and hopefully our road to Edinburgh will mark another step in Kalagora’s evolution.
Nothing is finished, everything is process.
Next week, I’ll post a special photo-blog on Mumbai (and for Mumbai given recent events) with additional thoughts on what connects the three cities of our show in the 21st century. Send us your positive vibes, and do keep reading…
Posted July 14, 2011
One Response to “Road to Edinburgh”
Leave a Reply