entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Indian Tempest

At Tagore, we have had a group of actors staying with us this week. They were from the Footsbarn Theatre out of France. This company is the world’s largest travelling theatre company and has performed in over 42 countries across 5 continents. This particular troupe has been touring with their version of Shakespeare’s Tempest- Indian Tempest. “This spectacular production has a distinct Indian flavor with an evocative reworking of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays and is set on a timeless imaginary island, in a world of spirits, shapes and monsters where music rules everything.”

Of course, I sought out tickets for the show, inviting Ayush to join me. So after an hour of recuperation after the Zoo, we headed to the show. I looked outside to see rain falling yet again, so I grabbed by umbrella and a scarf before heading out. Luckily it stopped as we made the long motorcycle ride across the city. Finally we arrived at Lalitha Kala Thoranam, an open-air theatre space. What an amazing space to have a show!! We sat on the ground directly in front of the playing area in took it all in. The main “stage” was a round space draped in white cloth. The cloth was later removed to reveal a copper spiral staircase on stage right. On stage left, another curtained space that was used to reflect shadows. And then off stage right was a array of instrument. Many of the players were also instrumentalists but there was one main musician who seemed to play them all!

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(You can see the musician on the left)

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(Use of light and shadows)

From the first moment of the show, I was caught in the magic. Mystical music played, shadows reflected off the curtains with amazing lighting, and the actors came out in full spirit. What a fabulous vision!

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We had only made it halfway through the first Act when it began raining again. You have got to be kidding, I thought. A tarp was put on top of the musician area and the actors were continuing so I popped up the umbrella and tried to ignore the water seeped through my clothing. We all figured it would let up, but instead, it poured even harder. Most of the spectators had left for cover but Ayush and I sat under the umbrella in the front row getting soaked! The players went on for almost 10 minutes before calling it off. “You are a brave audience!” One of the players called out. Ayush and I ran to cover with the other spectators to wait it out. However it rained for a good twenty minutes and by that time the entire set and all the actors were soaked to the core. You could tell that the company felt terrible about called it off. This was there only performance in Hyderabad and they had never had to call one off before. However they were so gracious- running out in the rain to meet the spectators, dancing around and banging drums. As a theatre person myself, I know how much it stinks to call a show off and was utterly amazing that they lasted as long as they did.

While I wish I could have seen the entire performance, it was still an amazing experience. I will always remember smiling and laughing in the rain at the Indian Tempest!

Check out the troupe here: http://www.footsbarn.com

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