A theatre that stands in close relationship to real events in the world has been the starting point for our three-day meeting. Such a ‘Theatre of the Real’, to borrow a phrase from academic Carol Martin, has been known by varied terms during different times and places—Documentary theatre, Verbatim theatre, Newspaper theatre, Reenactment theatre, to mention a few.
We have invited performers, scholars of performance, visual artists, lawyers, activists from the human rights field, journalists, and educators to engage with our audience through performances, presentations, concerts and lectures. Such a concentrated and multi-perspective reflection on Theatre of the Real in India, is to our knowledge the first of its kind. Therefore our impetus of CONNECTING REALITIES, has aimed not only on links between theatre and reality but has been an expression of our desires as artists and curators to establish a platform on and through which people from diverse backgrounds can engage with each other, sans professional and social hierarchies.
Given the socio-political milieu—rising nationalism, mass extinction of species, widespread reliance on Artificial Intelligence and a market centric arts environment that blunts radical aesthetic thought—this dialogue of practitioners stays vital.
We choose to present our symposium through an image of the mangroves. They embody a complex network of ecosystems, that protect coastal areas from erosion, storms and tsunamis. The mangroves are in-between spaces that connect the sea to the land—a simultaneous site of transition and connection. Our endeavor through CONNECTING REALITIES, is to occupy a place, that is transitional and yet captures a changing landscape of theatre and its contested realities.