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Bring your own chair

Interdisciplinary theatre artiste Theodora Skipitares will help you bring inanimate objects to life at her workshop

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Chairs, is a tragic farce written in 1952 by absurdist playwright Eugène Ionesco. The play begins with an Old Man and an Old Woman arranging chairs for guests who have gathered to listen to a special message.

Theodora is known for incorporating Japanese Bunraku theatre inspired life-size puppets in her performances
Theodora is known for incorporating Japanese Bunraku theatre inspired life-size puppets in her performances

A quintessential absurdist play, here, the guests are invisible. The all-important message is never delivered, and the end is open to interpretation. When avant-garde theater artiste Theodora Skipitares, takes up this play next month as her six-day workshop material, expect more twists. Known for working with ‘performing objects’, a concept inspired by Bunraku (Japanese puppet) theatre, this play will see her replace her usual life-sized puppets with chairs and imbue life into them.

Two of the chairs she used in her previous staging of The Chairs
Two of the chairs she used in her previous staging of The Chairs

Thus, the chairs Ionesco’s an Old Man and Old Woman keep dragging across the stage become characters like Gertrude Stein, Malala, Ai Wei Wei, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela. “For the workshop I want each person to bring a special chair that is of some importance to him/her. It can be your lucky chair, your rocking chair or a chair coated in nostalgia. During the course of the play, each member will create his/her own chair that will tell his or her story.

So, essentially each sketch will have a chair and one member or, sometimes two, and together they will improvise and take the scene forward. Eventually, all the scenes will be woven into the play,” explains Skipitares over phone from Delhi. She had previously done a similar experiment with the students of the University of Tehran “They were students of puppetry, but here I am hoping to work mostly with dancers and actors. Of course, the approach will change to incorporate individual talent. However, there is no eligibility criteria as that will also add to the variety,” she adds.

WHERE: Sea View Room, Tata Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point
WHEN: November 30 — December 5, 11 AM — 6 PM
ENTRY: Rs 5,000
CALL: 66223802

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