Having a thing for theatre

Updated: Oct 21, 2019, 07:46 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A performance will highlight how object theatre reinterprets everyday items as metaphors in a play

Choiti Ghosh performs A Bird's Eye View
Choiti Ghosh performs A Bird's Eye View

Take a quick look around you and inspect the material objects you're surrounded by. How many of them do you really need? Chances are, not all. But it's just that living in the age of consumerism leads to such constant desires that we sometimes can't help purchasing items that we could very well do without. We indulge in things like retail therapy, which keeps the global flow of money in a capitalist world in constant spin. Who cares if our landfills are becoming mountains of rubbish?

It was as a counter to this very attitude that the advent of object theatre emerged in the 1980s. It's a type of drama where there are hardly any dialogues, and everyday items are used to tell a story instead, after they are ascribed certain metaphors as a narrative device. "The viewers already know the uses of the different objects, which means that they already have an association with everything they see on stage. These objects, which haven't been made for theatre but are meant for other functions — become agents of an idea. They become a medium for story-telling," says Choiti Ghosh, director of A Bird's Eye View, a play in the object theatre format that will be staged in the city this week.

The plot revolves around Milu, a carrier pigeon who operates during a war. The play tells the viewer what her perception of the world is. Ghosh tells us that the objects she is using to tell Milu's story include a lot of toys. "That's because the idea of war as a game was a metaphor that was too delicious to resist. There are a lot of toy soldiers and the pigeon itself is a toy pigeon. There are boots, globes, aquariums and chocolates, too, the last of which denotes a love story that melts and gets eaten, because I do eat it," Ghosh, who is also the play's sole performer, shares.
She adds, "I don't like to make a play thinking that I'll impart a message, because I'm not a teacher. I also don't think it's necessarily the job of theatre to give a message; its job is to make people uncomfortable, to provoke them a bit. So, the moral of the story isn't something that I aim to give. But I do hope that the play moves people."

At October 24, 5.30 pm
On Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort.
Email education@csmvs.in (to register)

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