Dark Things is a collaborative weaving together of bits of hardship from the new frontiers of work and suffering in the 21st Century. This world of cell-phones, silk and hazmat suits and the Afro-Asian landscape signify a world out of joint and out of moral kilter. Rebuilding a geography of crisis through the labouring body, scenographically and performatively through live music, image and sound, Dark Things takes to account histories and contemporary lives of people and the labour of living in dark times. The play is about the dark times we live in, the life of refugees, war, migration, capitalist arrogance, factory workers, manual scavengers and bone collectors.
This pluri-medial work has been thought through and workshopped within the confluence of a neo-constructivist/machinic spirit and Afro-Asian tonalities from raga to jazz. Based on a text for an Oratorio by Ari Sitas, the the project has emerged from a collaboration between Anuradha Kapur, Deepan Sivaraman and Sumangala Damodaran who used this as an opportunity to create a learning factory whose process of construction has been as important as the final work itself. Renowned musicians Chandran Veyattummal from Kerala and Reza Khota from South Africa are involved in creating the musical landscape for the production. The dramaturgy for the performance has been created by Purav Goswami, a graduate student of the Performance Studies programme.
The performance echoes this confluence of creative minds in the way it is structured as an open ended visual narrative threaded through experiences of oppression and tragedy in the late capitalist period. The performance raises intriguing questions about the human experience of humiliation, displacement and mechanization of labour in a world marked by histories of brutalities of man.
Anuradha Kapur is a theatre maker and an academic. Her theatre work has travelled nationally and internationally and she has taught in Universities in India and abroad. She is the founder member of Vivadi a working group of theatre makers, visual artists, film makers, musicians and writers. Among her acclaimed productions are Virasat,(2013) Dr Jekyll and Hyde (2012), Jeevit ya Mrit (2011), Centaurs (2006), Pata Shahar Mumbai,(2004), Antigone Project, (co directed with Ein Lall, 2003) Sundari:An actor Prepares (1997). Her writings on performance have been widely anthologized and her bookActors Pilgrims Kings and Gods: the Ramlila at Ramnagar was published by Seagull Books, Calcutta (1993, 2004). She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akedemi award for Direction in 2004. Anuradha Kapur completed her term as Director National School of Drama, New Delhi in 2013, where she was also Professor of Acting and Direction. She is presently Visiting Professor at Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Deepan Sivaraman, a director, scenographer and writer lives in Delhi. He is the founding artistic director of Oxygen Theatre Company based in Kerala. Deepan is also an Associate Professor and Programme Coordinator of MA Performance Studies at School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University in Delhi. The recipient of Charles Wallace India Trust Award, he holds BA, MA and M Phil degrees in theatre arts and is also a post graduate from the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design London. Deepan has designed and directed more than 60 performances for various companies and academic institutions in India and Europe and his works have been performed in several important theatre festivals around the world including Avignon, Alameda, Edinburgh, Prithvi, ITFOK, META and Bharath Rang Mahotsav. Deepan is a recipient of Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademy Award for theatre direction and his works have been represented in Indian scenography national exhibition at Prague Quadrennial in 2011. His play Spinal Cord received 7 Mahindra Excellence Theatre Awards in 2010 including best designer and director. He served as the Artistic Director of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala 2014 edition. Some of his major performances pieces are Dark Things (2018) (in collaboration with Ari Sitas, Sumangala Damodaran and Anuradha Kapur), The Legends of Khasakkinte Itihasam (2015), It’s Cold in Here (2014), Project Nostalgia (2014), Ubu Roi (2012), Peer Gynt (2010), Spinal Cord (2009).