Notes on Chai – Director’s Note

In the context of an all-pervasive information overload, I feel that work seeking to cultivate more intuitive acts of understanding instead of simply and continually privileging rational processes of engagement and assessment is of great value

I feel works, particularly devised pieces, when rooted in our histories and lives push both the performer and the audience to engage with the work at a more personal level. I believe work, that is grounded in our own life, place and circumstance is contemporary and experimental in the true sense since the material for investigation in such work stems from our immediate concerns and surroundings and addresses issues both of form and content in ways that require us to engage with it at a more personal, more immediate and individual level.  Such works though not conventional in terms of narrative or structure engage and entertain the audience in ways that are more experiential and immediate

While my work and the acting processes inspired in the Grotowski tradition, the material and the aesthetics of the work are strongly rooted in the urban Indian ethos, making the piece very immediate in its concerns.

As an actor and a maker, I am interested in work that addresses our concerns and occupies the spaces, imagery and motifs that are a part of our present lives and of our times. Such work allows for a stronger engagement of the spectator, encouraging him to engage with the work at a more personal level, so that he no longer stands at a distance, admiring the actor’s virtuosity or the creative elements of the production design, or even the ideas being talked about in the piece, but feels, instead, that the work features his self or his concerns in some immediate way.

Through my work I, like to continuously challenge the actor-spectator equation, where the perception of who / what is being watched / spoken of / indicated continually shifts, and ends up having to be personally constructed by each member of the audience.

In my work  i would like the viewing experience of the spectator continually moves between a collective experience that accompanies the identifying of and with the daily instances and the solitary experience of engaging with the abstract sound segments.

It is my desire that the boundaries of the solitary and the collective become increasingly less demarcated and more personal to each spectator as the piece proceeds, bringing in a sense of interiority and personal connects and disconnects encouraging each spectator to begin a journey of personal associations, examining his own quotidian.

In the times where quick and easy consumption of art is the norm, I feel, work that requires the audience to construct meaning on his own, directing his gaze inward to the self, is of great value.

Jyoti Dogra