• Home/Away International Theatre Festival

    November 7, 2017

    ‘For as long as anyone can remember, the Banyan Tree has been the heart of the Jahan Nagari. A resettlement slum, hastily cobbled together during the ‘clean-up’ drive of New Delhi, Jahan Nagari is populated with migrants who gravitated towards those with similar language and customs, as the city’s streets became ghettos, where opportunists sought to stake a claim. A microcosm of any big city, Jahan Nagari has its power centres, its dark underbelly, as well as its pockets of culture and refinement.

    Into this melting pot comes young runaway, Roshan, escaping from an alcoholic father and abusive stepmother, seeking shelter under the banyan tree. Through the eyes of a wide cast of characters, we experience the journey of the migrant, the insecurities and fears, and the longing to grow roots and call a place ‘Home’.

    ‘Bargad Ki Chhaon Mein – In The Shade of The Banyan’ was a performance that covered the subaltern landscape of an urban slum in Delhi. By fictionalizing Jahangirpuri (a resettlement colony in north west Delhi), the play focused on the key interplay of migration, class and a feeling of ‘loss’ that comes when one struggles to find Home.

    We continued our association with the National Theatre of Scotland when they invited us to participate in the Home/Away International Theatre Festival. It was a celebration of Participatory Arts that saw 10 theatre companies from across the world share their experiences with community engagement.

    For us, this platform was the perfect opportunity to display our work with the ‘Youth At-Risk’. Time spent at the Juvenile Observation Home had led us to Jahangirpuri with the intent of intervening even before the crime took place. A year spent in the community gave us our stories, which were carefully moulded into a theatre production directed by our Managing Trustee, Ms. Puneeta Roy.

    Characters had a sense of realism and the audition process equally vigorous. After two rounds of intense auditions, the selected group of actors traveled with our direction team to Jahangirpuri to get a sense of what they were working on. Actors working with us on this production were professionals with a vast range of experience. In rehearsals and preparations that lasted 3 months however, we all shared a common vision.

    Our debut performance as at the Aadharshila Observation Home for Boys, our source of inspiration for this work in the first place. We performed there for the Superintendent, Magistrates, members of Juvenile Justice Board and other organisations working in the sphere of Juvenile Law. But our best critics were the inmates, the young boys who watched the show and found themselves connecting to the characters in the play.

    To know more about the story and the project, click on the link below.







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