The basics of theatre : The Kathmandu Post

The basics of theatre : The Kathmandu Post

The basics of theatre

Manisha Neupane 


         KATHMANDU, AUG 21 - The premises of Sarwanam Theatre at Kalikasthan were abuzz with activity. There were people looking at scripts and making improvisations, others were mimicking the movements of a bus, others still were dancing. This has been the daily routine for the 11 students for almost a month and a half, as part of the schedule for the theatre’s two-month workshop. Now that the training is coming to an end, the participants will present their new play for audiences in the coming month. In all this, they have been under the guidance of director Ashesh Malla and other veteran actors associated with Sarwanam. 
           “We’ve organised this workshop not only in the hopes of producing better actors, but also better human beings. We’ve designed the training to help our participants become well-cultured and disciplined in general,” Malla says. “It is more about people than about actors.” He adds that participants of the workshop are being taught the broader aspects of theatre, including script writing, lighting, stage setting and sound, which results in a more all-round growth. “Once they pass the workshop and find themselves involved with other theatre groups, we want them to possess a comprehensive knowledge of the medium,” he says. Students at Sarwanam pay Rs 3,000 for the session, a fee that Malla believes is reasonable considering the rewards. “Our objective is to set up a theatre culture that isn’t based around high fees,” he says. “We are trying to work with colleges in the city, to train interested students free of cost in exchange for establishing drama clubs at their institutions.” 
           Malla, a prominent figure in the theatre scene in Nepal, says he is satisfied with what his students have brought to the table thus far. “Their enthusiasm is unparalleled. They are young, talented, and I see great potential in each and every one of them,” he says, adding that although the participants posses the capacity for much bigger things, they still have a long way to go. And the students, of course, have nothing to complain about. They include Shyam Karki, Dikshya Shah, Ambika Nepali, Pujan Lamichhane, Khemraj Bhandari, Shishir Aryal, Basanta Bhandari, Prakash Nepal, Dibankar Shrestha, Binita Thapa and Pradip Khadgi, all of whom believe they can carve a space for themselves in the current theatre circle. 
        When asked what they’ve gained from the workshop, Shishir Aryal, says, “What we have always loved about theatre is the absence of restrictions. You can be whatever you want to be on stage—the possibilities are endless.” Ambika Nepali, says that before the workshop, she wasn’t aware of the significance of movements associated with theatre. “We’ve been taught how each gesture can impact the audience, and we’re more confident now.” 
The group is currently rehearsing for a play they will present at the end of the workshop. The play  is based on the story of a village whose inhabitants are content despite their downtrodden circumstances, and whose lives are transformed after the arrival of a stranger. 
“Everyone has worked so hard over the past month or so,” Malla says. “I’m very proud of how far they’ve come.”

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