DNA | Bangaloreans gear up for Jagriti Theatre’s first season
It’s not that Bangalore has always been kind to theatre. But somehow the theatre lovers have always found a way to keep it alive — from a tangible perspective as well as getting people, sometimes even converting the philistines, to keep their faith in the arts alive.
On that note, Jagriti, one of the newest performing arts spaces in town, is welcoming their first theatre season. A pretty much one-of-a-kind event to be starting in India, the season, which starts on December 2 and runs through June, will see six plays of repute on the stage.
“One of the biggest advantages we have at Jagriti is that we are in a position to create our programme schedule and the concept of seasons in theatre doesn’t exist in India; so we are looking at six plays over six months. And what we have been able to do is come up with a brilliant collection of plays, starting with one that was written in 411BC!” says Jagdish Raja of Jagriti Theatre.
The play in question is Lysistrata by Aristophanes, which is being directed by UK-based Jeff Teare. A theatre professional for the past 40 years, Jeff has directed over 120 theatre productions with a gamut of genres under his hat. He was also the co-director of Theatresciene 2002-2011 and has handled productions, projects and workshops in the UK, India, Uganda, Argentina and Switzerland. “Lysistrata is a play that talks about something very relevant but in a funny sort of way. It’s about the war between Athens and Sparta, which is dragging needlessly, with all the young men dying and the older men getting rich. Lysistrata, who is the main character in the play, too has a husband who’s been away at war for long. What she does, pulling her sisters in, is go on a sex strike,” says Jeff, adding, “We’ve made a few changes of course — adding a more contemporary twist with a few Indian elements (specifically Bangalore) into the play. So, don’t be surprised if you notice someone who reminds you of a famous Page 3 person!”
Apart from Lysistrata, some of the other plays you can watch at Jagriti are The Golden Dragon by Roland Schimmelpfennig, directed by Ramin Gray, The Dreams Of Tipu Sultan by Girish Karnad and directed by Arundhati Raja, A Twist of Lime by Anita Nair, directed by Arundhati Raja and Shipwrecked! by Donald Margulies and directed by Cindy Meier. Tickets to the plays cost Rs300 per production and Rs1,500 for the whole season.
Jagriti is a Performance Arts space dedicated to Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. Founded in 2011 by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, the space has hosted several productions from India and around the world. A 200-seat theatre built around a full-thrust stage, it is fully equipped to cater to both artistes and audience. The main stage is designed for intimate performances, with adjoining spaces for informal lectures and gatherings, and an attached restaurant. Jagriti is owned and operated by the not-for profit ART Foundation, a registered charitable trust.
The Rooftop - above the main auditorium is an open-to-sky space with a stage area that can accommodate about 50 people. A raised and walled off platform can work as a perfect area for puppet theatre. The Rooftop has a restroom and a pantry.
The Terrace - alongside the auditorium can accommodate about 20 people as an informal gathering area.
Lumbini - extending out from the foyer, Lumbini has a stage and an open-to-sky terraced space for about 80 people.