3 questions with Sankar Venkateswaran

The director brings award-winning Japanese playwright Shogo Ohta's The Water Station to Mumbai this week

After garnering much acclaim for the play The Elephant Project, Kerala-based director Sankar Venkateswaran presents the non-verbal play, The Water Station. This is the third time that Venkateswaran is dealing with the script, having worked on it twice at Ninasam, in Karnataka.

A scene from The Water Station

Like the eighteen travellers from the play, who stop by at the only dripping water faucet in a barren landscape, the director finds solace in Shogo Ohta's play. He earnestly hopes to transport his audience into the landscape described by Ohta. Excerpts from an interview:

What got you interested in the play?
In the play, Shogo Ohta has explained the concept of existence in intricate detail. The way of life and its beauty is portrayed through the most trivial and simplest of actions. Yet, the 'beauty' that I talk about is melancholic. It's not beauty in the banal sense of the word, it's ethereal.

Director Sankar Venkateswaran

Is working on a non-verbal play a challenge or does it make it easier for you to approach different kinds of audiences?
It's both challenging as well as inspiring. It's challenging because you have to establish an interface of communication with the audience. That interface has to be so universal that anyone can understand what's happening on stage. Also, just because it's a non-verbal play it  does not mean that I don't believe in the grammar of words. This is just a play that allows me to indulge in a
different kind of exploration within theatre.

What makes you go back to the play again and again?
The magic and the beauty of the play! I first worked on the play with a group at Ninasam, Heggodu in Karnataka, then developed it again for their repertoire. I discovered new things about the play each time. Now, I'm working with my own group and we're still making new discoveries. What's great about the play is that it gives actors the autonomy to be creative.

ON Today and tomorrow, 9 pm AT Prithvi Theatre, Juhu Church Road, Vile Parle (W). CALL 26149546 TICKETS Rs 80

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