De-brief with Sivakami 22/9

On the 22nd September Sivakami arrived from Mumbai and we rejoined Swatantra for a de-brief about the week and the performances in the basti.

In the morning we met as a small team, comprising of RAs, Sivakami, Abhijeet, Dhanashree, Andy and I to discuss methodology and the synergy between theatre and social science methods. A key understanding that has developed this week is around the interconnections but also the discreet elements of these two areas. By that I mean that the theatre project scale is not delimited by the social science research and vice versa. The final play next March may include 30 or 40 people from the basti but these may or may not be those who have shared their detailed narratives. The key aim is to find a synergy whereby some of those people who have been interviewed are also part of the theatre project, wherein we can collate detailed research from both the rehearsal / performance elements and from the interviews. This gives depth and context and each practice can inform the other.

In the afternoon the actors of Swatantra joined us for a larger meeting. Before we began, Andy and I handed out small tokens of gratitude (flake flowers and British sweets what else?!) to say thank you to the team. Andy and I are so grateful for their unfailing energy as a creative/research team. The Pm meeting was very valuable in getting feedback from the actors and drilling down into how the methodology could move forward using a range of theatre genres and methods to convey the narratives that we are uncovering in realistic but also more poetic and metaphorical ways. As the afternoon progressed it was clear how the understanding between different academic disciplines and theatre was developing so that RAs and Sivakami were commenting and suggesting ways forward creatively  and the actors and Swatantra were seeing the importance of research led rehearsals.

Sivakami’s presence was crucial as usual in underlining the key research goals and reassuring the team that the current methods were rigorous and relevant. We all underlined that the methods of this week (RAs in close dialogue with Swatantra) was fundamental going forward. In this regard we agreed to think of all of us (inc RAs) as part of the creative team.

The day ended with a production meeting led by Andy which ironed out and clarified some of the key targets and timescales for the final show which is now scheduled for early March 2019.

So the busy week draws to an end. Sunday is festival time. A moment for Andy and I to savour the atmosphere. Thank you Pune for welcoming us once again. Ganpati Bappa Morya!!!



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