Marks was staged in collaboration with the School of Drama of Calicut University on the Aranattukara campus near Thrissur in Kerala from October 4 to 8
Marks, an interactive performance by Abheesh Sasidharan and team, was staged in collaboration with the School of Drama of Calicut University on the Aranattukara campus near Thrissur from October 4 to 8.
The unique performance-based artistic venture was a homage to the legendary British architect Laurie Baker, the architect of some of the versatile and diverse structures on the Aranattukara campus. Architecture, theatre, nature, performance and people came together in an intertwined aesthetic and polyphonic experience through the staging.
“The whole theatre community at the School of Drama was involved in the elaborate and moving performance. In it, techno-art and conservationist politics merge with human rights issues and a critique of hierarchical society,” explains Sasidharan, who has done his PhD in theatre and performance at the Hyderabad Central University.
Animalisation and demonisation of the human and the biopower and resistance potential of the subjugated form a key contemporary theme that is theatrically explored and enacted in intricate and multi-sensory ways, observes Ajay S. Sekhar, theatre critic and assistant professor, Department of English, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady.
“The concern for humanity, life at large and ecology are thrust areas of this key artistic intervention. The very survival and sustenance of life during the contagion and the current conjecture involving totalitarian and monopoly formations across the world become the context,” Dr. Sekhar points out.
A new performance idiom and language of collaborative and participatory action were evolved through the exploration of the non-visual and auditory stimuli. Touch, smell and temperature differences and sensations were utilised dexterously in the production.
“Marks leaves deep and engaging imprints of life and art onto the body and mind of the audience as they are guided through the dark interiors and star-lit exteriors. The natural vegetation, huge and meandering mango trees and other wild plants that engulf the campus become the organic arena and real-life props of the performance,” says Dr. Sekhar.
“The improvisational and contextually evolving theatrical language used in tandem with the performers, who are students and academic exponents of theatre and performance make it unique and historic,” he says.
This collective and collaborative artwork involves and actively engages the audience in creating the music of life and collective survival in the time of the pandemic, he adds.