The thing about Padatik theatre’s performances, a group from Kolkata, is that they don’t believe in the audience watching their plays. They believe in the audience being with them on stage, embodying the play as it plays out. The group, that was in Hyderabad over the weekend, brought out three productions that teleported the audience from their seats on to the stage.
Founded in 1972 in Kolkata by Sangeet Natak Academy Award-winner Shyamanand Jalan, Padatik is a performing arts establishment. While talking to Anubha and Pradip, the cast of Cameras Obscuras, it became clear that Padatik’s productions, especially those directed by Vinay Sharma, depend heavily on the process of creating and enjoying theatre. The audience saw the two actors transform themselves into something else several times during the play. The journey to that level of genius is actually just as interesting as the destination. Vinay, apparently, has a unique way of getting his actors to discover the characters while rehearsing. “It is a tedious process. There is a lot of unlearning and rebuilding involved as Vinay lets you discover your emotions and asks you to come up with a reason for everything you do,” says Pradip.
Vinay does not waste any second of stage time or anything else on stage. Every prop, every movement, every single light conveys something. There is a lot of subtext to whatever goes on the stage. Even the slightest movement has a reason behind it. “It is frustrating and it is tedious and we sweat a lot during the workshops. Vinay just shows up, throws a few lines at us and asks us to come up with what we can. It is madness but there is a method to this madness,” says Anubha.
Mad or sane, Sharma seems to have figured out the formula to theatrical genius because words cannot do justice to the performances that the audience saw over the weekend. It is these performances that tell you that the sky is not the limit; it is the place where your limit starts.