'Children challenge one in many ways'

'Children challenge one in many ways'

Though theatrician Vandana Prabhu has directed plays before, she finds helming plays an opportunity to bring out the best in her.  She will soon be seen directing 'A Little Calm Before the Storm', which is being staged as a part of the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival'  that is curated by Sandbox Collective. The play is being staged on December 5,  7 pm onwards at  Ranga Shankara.  In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, she  sheds light on the play and  the festival.

 How excited are you to be a part of the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival'?

I'm very excited. This is my first time as a director at the festival. I was a part of  a production in 2016 as an actor but this is a very different experience.  It's always wonderful to be invited to a festival like this one.  

How do you think the  audience will react?

I want them to enjoy my play and I am sure they will. 'A Little Calm Before the Storm' is dark humour; there's a lot of wordplay and the subject is very interesting. It explores what actors would consider when they take up a role, especially when depicting someone like Hitler.  In India, while the repercussions of playing a villain are not so strong, as a German actor, one wouldn't touch Hitler as a subject. What actors go through at such a point can be seen in this play. I hope the audience gets the humour and will be able to recreate that sense of class of cultures and opinions.

What can the audience expect from the play?  

The audience can look forward to some good acting. There are a lot of dialogues and interplay between the characters. Acting without a lot of movement can be quite challenging and that is explored here. The play comes under the genre of absurd theatre and is deliberately ambivalent. Sometimes the audience wants a closure to some issue but as they will find out here, one always comes back to the same point.  

Was it a conscious choice to try dark humour?

I wanted to work on something which was challenging to perform. Dark humour is always interesting as it is not slapstick comedy. We tried this as a dramatised reading and it was received well by the audience. This gave me the confidence that it will work well with a broader audience.  

How relevant is the play to  today's audience?

The play is great for today's times. With actors who have police protection, the whole 'Padmavati' row and debates on how one can portray evil characters on screen, this play comes in at the right time.  

What is unique about the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival'?  

The very fact that the festival promotes theatre and gives theatricians a chance to work with plays which they might not  normally pick up, speaks volumes about the festival. I also see a lot of new  artistes here,  which is a step ahead.    

You're a teacher and consultant for arts in education and a full-time theatre actor. What do you enjoy the most?

Teaching is a introspective activity. Children challenge one in many ways. They keep you on  your toes. On stage, things are done through a method.

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