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Train Of Thought – A Stage Of Change
Modern forms of art are stated to be the mirror of life, a reflex of social congruence, a reflection of one’s own ideals and perception. Art no more stands as a craft of fancy; rather it makes strong deliberate sketches of the palpable causes.
Arena Stage in association with American Centre held the second ‘Voices Of Now’ programme in Kolkata, India from the 15th of January to the 18th of January 2014. Participation saw enhancement in strength and spirit. Jadavpur University had a bouquet of performers amomg which Shoumashree Sarkar, Trisha Ray, Deepaboli Dey are a few to name. Other participants hailed from Shri Shikshayatan and ILEAD Kolkata. The three day workshop mentored by Ashley Forman, Director of Education, Anita Maynard-Losh, Director of Community Engagement ,Psalmayene, Master Teaching Artist, Raymond Caldwell, Community Engagement Partnership Manager.
At the onset of the workshop, the participants were rechristened as ‘artists’. The artists were then introduced to theatre technicalities like the formation of frozen formations , (tablo) that would tell a story. Many fresh nuances and theatrical equations rendered the artists a sense of professionalism and the involvement saw enhancement. Milling , levels-in-a-tablo, postures, voice modulation, stage usage were amongst other lessons of the workshop.
The next phase had the artists talk about matters that found their concern. They shared all that they felt strongly about and the mentors began keeping a note of it. The artists were then asked to write about their own experiences that led them towards forming an opinion about the issues that invoked passion in them. This led to a healthy discussion, debate and opinions. One could feel a sense of triumph with their issues being addressed.
Scripting began and rehearsals were in full swing. The play was named , “Train Of Thoughts”, an entourage through the variable spheres of the artists own experiences. 18th of January 2014, Vidyamamndir auditorium at the Birla High school Kolkata saw a full house show, where a group of high school children also mentored by Arena Stage professionals performed a play which was followed by the 24 artists putting up a thought provoking , “Train Of Thoughts”. The play dealt with taboos like sexual orientation, queer relationships and a striking array of issues with utter ease and comfort. What the audiences witnessed was an array of simplistic solutions to all that seemed gravely convoluted. While thanking the artists and Kolkata alike, Ashley said, “Thank you for your work and your generous spirit. Our play could not have been made without you. It was an honour to work with you.
As the play ended on a positive note, the auditorium gushed with applause and appreciation. It was striking to see issues that were generally guffawed at were being held high and addressed. The play was followed by a successful question and answer session between the artists and the active audience. To extend the reach of the content, the event was live streamed on Howlround.com .The evening saw its culmination with the artists and the mentors embracing each other and splurging into the taste of triumph.