Hands meet hands: CLAPS, Music of building the relations.

Isn’t it true? When two palms bound and rebound with each other it creates a music which we call claps but isn’t a reaction, a motion, a movement that builds relation between two hands of single body. Well, I not talking biology and physics but I couldn’t think of any better analogy for the body that is SUNO SUNO and two hands which is theatre and the community people. Well we are on coarse of building this music.

In the community, building relations with the people on whom researchis done by methodology of theatre! (SUNO SUNO), Community, research and theatre!! Well it seems we have all the three pitches low pitch, normal pitch and high pitch to create our melody. But hello, these pitches are not similar just like the previous variants I mentioned, Community, research and theatre!! So the process of relation building was exactly how it was expected to be, Unpredictable!

After a lot of discussion it was decided what form theatre to be used as an ice-breaker activity, that could involve people as spectators not only for the performance but also for the idea of the big play, the final play, their own play. And the idea of street theatre was used under the bigger bracket of how theatre would be used as methodology for identifying moments of Resilience. However in initial street plays done (water and garbage), there were not specific moments of resilience as it was agreed that this would be used as an ice breaker activity which could help us to establish that hello TEAM SUNO SUNO is here. (The name wasn’t kept then). So did it create something what I can call engaging for people? Yes , yes it did, after the two street plays we had definitely established ourselves that there is some group of people who comes to do plays and two ladies come to collect their data. But these were separate chords, two different strings, we needed something that could help that we are one in mind, but many in body.

ICE BREAKER Street play did its magic though, after the street play people had started sharing their stories of resilience, so first step was achieved SHARING. And next two street plays were done on their stories. The response of those street plays was phenomenal and yes with time, we could see RA’s and theatre team become one team for the project. But still solid public relation binding was not visible. In order to give the real boost the project needed more it was establish that people form the theatre group should come along with the RA’s for their field visits and it was mutually agreed that they would be observes during the conversations. A date would be decided previously and people were asked to come and just talk to the team, and yes they came , they came in good numbers and not only they came they had given us the recreational room where we all sat and had random talks of how they migrated here ? What do they do now ? and explaining them about what this project exactly is.This phase organically helped us to develop relations among the theatre team and community members and personally being present there I could see how hostile they are to these bunch of people, us. What was most adorable was they effect of human touch, like in middle class societies I didn’t find such warm and truthful human values.

One such incident happened which I have to mention here as it opened many perspectives of how young adults are in the basti. it was one such visit where we had gone with the RA’s as observers and we met these young lads, from Punjabi gali, I still remember the afternoon had a mild drizzle so, we had interaction under umbrellas parking and we had these boys sharing their stories of how they came and what difficulties they had? Their hobbies, their habits everything. What got me was how truthful and friendly these young adult’ boys were. They could dance, act, mimic you name it. Community, by then had identified us and had started expressing themselves, the process of making theatre, though the task was how to involve more people, channelize this energy and gather more narratives. The street plays that followed was from the narratives and participation increased when familiarity of both we as group and performances increased. By this time kids had really involved themselves, when actors used to do calling for street play, kids used to come along and take lead in calling people that is COME COME, COME TO WATCH A STREET PLAY. Theatre had started showing the dynamics, energy and magic.

In between there was visit from Mark and Andy, members of the team UK. And what cheerful experience it was, the play that we created along with the UK team and the RA’ was based on neighbors with the use of trash band. (A musical band of trash). This play was designed by slicing technique, 2-3 minutes of powerful glimpses of how neighbors are in the basti. The response that it got was powerful too. One more major plus was now we had our name SUNO SUNO. People had a cheerful vibe after the play and they sang with us SUNO SUNO. LISTEN LISTEN. Well we were there in the basti.

After that, one session of play back theatre with them was done, play back theatre is impromptu theatre where acts are done impromptu as per the story of story teller. The music for the play was done on trash band. And well when they could see their own stories we could find people laughing, smiling and some even in tears as they went back in time of how they came to basti.

Well to conclude we are on coarse of creating the music between two hands of our body called project SUNO SUNO. We shall all reach there together.

Krushan Doshi
Swatantra Theatre. India


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