'Theatre is at a very exciting place now'

'Theatre is at a very exciting place now'

Theatre excites Quasar Thakore Padamsee like nothing else. He has directed and produced over 25 plays with QTP that include 'A Peasant of El Salvador', 'Project S.T.R.I.P.', 'So Many Socks' and 'Minorities'.  Quasar will be directing 'Mother Courage And Her Children', which will be staged as part of the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival' that is curated by Sandbox Collective. The play will be staged on December 3, 7 pm at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, the director talks about  the festival.

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

The festival has been a part of the psyche of Bengaluru. There are events which are a part of the cultural bloodflow of a city and this festival has been that. It feels nice to be a part of such an event.

What is unique about the festival?

Most festivals are centric to one or two venues.  Each of the plays in the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival' is being staged at a different venue which makes it really unique. This gives Bengalureans an opportunity to watch at least  some of the plays. Across the country, people  are trying to experiment with new  formats. Festivals now are not just about staging a collection of plays but showcasing a range of work which is quite widespread.  

Why did you select 'Mother Courage and Her Children' for the festival?

I  picked up the play about a year ago to use it as a text in a class I was teaching.  When I was reading it, I was surprised that it was written in the 1930s in Germany but is still so relevant. The question in my head is not why this play, but why not? Nobody knows who is fighting who now, which is very fascinating. All the things that Bertolt Brecht talks about in the play apply to the current conforms.  

What are the points you look into when directing a play?

If it is a play which already exists then it is about how good the play is, how it speaks to one and whether it hurts one in the gut.

 Theatre runs in your family. How did your interest develop?

My interest in theatre  happened  by chance. I was sent to a boarding school where I was part of a couple of plays there. When I was acting in a play at the age of 16, in the middle of my part, I suddenly realised 'Oh my God, this is so cool!'. I even forgot my lines for a brief moment because I was enjoying the moment of realisation.  
What is nice is that neither of my parents ever pressurised me. My work is different from my other family members. I respond strongly to form, my mother responds to content and my father responds to scale.  We are not clones of each other.  

Has the theatre scene changed from when you started?

Very much! Theatre in India is at a very exciting  place now. There are more groups performing, more kinds of plays,  more writers writing and more venues  hosting plays. In Bengaluru, places like Ranga Shankara and Jagriti came up and even other venues are opening up, which is thrilling.  

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