World Theatre Day Address 2023 (India)
As theatre practitioners our focus is on making the present moment alive, meaningful, but are we thinking of the future? While performing today, are we creating possibilities for future performances? Are we consciously creating a future for our art or do we leave it to chance? These questions will become more and more important henceforth.
All of us, as theatre practitioners have lived through one of the most trying times of this century. It has been over a year since we have left Covid behind (almost). Such times create a very palpable fear of being wiped out, but since Shakespearean times no such calamity has been able to do that. We stand on the ground of the art that survived it all. And, we feel assured of the future of theatre.
The calamity we recently faced, didn't put us to sleep. On the contrary, it violently awakened us. We opened our eyes wide.
Or did we? We must contemplate this question seriously. The last few years have given us the opportunity to shed the past and create a future hand-in-hand with all those who practice the art and all those who partake in it. We must become particularly mindful of two things.
First of all, it is time to brush past the attitude of being different, and special, just because we are artists. We must stop alienating others. We can bridge the chasms of challenges created by Covid only through collaborations and partnerships.
Our first collaboration ought to be with the audience. We have to acknowledge that they are invested in our art. With that in mind, the value of creation in every moment becomes very essential. The audience is a part of our art. Our theatre needs to be a lively partnership with our audience.
The second partnership ought to be with each of our resources as well as other theatre practitioners. Do we think of our theatre in isolation or do we consider it to be a part of the theatre ecosystem? This is something, we as a community need to start considering more now, than ever.
Each moment that one creates on stage is valuable, but ephemeral. Now we ought to try to create a lasting value from these impressionable moments. The question that one must ask of oneself is whether one is striving to create a moment in somebody's future through the theatre we make in the present.
Even if we feel that we have won the battle in the past, and we are surviving in the present, it is of importance now to create a future through our actions in the present, to collaborate, to seek a lasting value.
Pradeep Vaiddya has worked continuously for more than 30 years as a theatre instructor, writer, director, scriptwriter, composer and lighting designer. For 12 years now, through Expression Lab, he has spearheaded training and initiatives to provide artists and audiences an holistic view of theatre with workshops, DIV Club, D Lab (Directing Workshop), Solo Theatre Festival, IT Theatre Awards, Natyasattak Mahotsav, Natak@Breakfast, Sci Fi Karandak, among others.
For his promising work in theatre field. Pradeep Vaiddya has been awarded the Tanveer Natyadharmi Award by Dr Sriram and Deepa Lagoo's Rupvedh Pratishthan in 2012. Along with his wife Rupali Bhave (actor & writer), he has founded a partnership company, "E Lab Art Spaces", to create facilitate art space conversions. They have created Pune's black box theatre - The Box, which has become a home for many theatre makers from Pune & around the country.