She dabbles with a medium that knows no rulebook. Which means, she gets to push its boundaries. Object Theatre is a fairly young stream within performance art but it is puppeteer Choiti Ghosh's choice in her engagement with the world of drama. She thus becomes the only official object theatre practitioner in India so far.
Choiti learnt Object Theatre at a workshop in France under the renowned Agnes Limbos two years ago and stitched together a show last year for Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai titled “Nostos”.
“I got two completely different reactions. While some said it was familiar and they have done it as kids without realising it was theatre; others said it was new,” she says. In this contradiction, Choiti sees, “the truth that telling a story with a range of objects is not unfamiliar to theatre world but it has happened unconsciously, not as a separate genre”, the way she was taught to do it.
Gathering the distinctiveness of the genre, where a story develops with the aid of objects that work as metaphors, Choiti is all set to roll out her next production, “A Bird's Eye View”, this time in Delhi. Under the banner of her group, Tram Theatre, the play will typically use objects like toys, paintings to narrate the story of a war pigeon during World War II.
“Through a pigeon used as a messenger during the war, I will try to drive home the futility of war and violence, something worth thinking about today. A pigeon doesn't know that there is a fight; that it is a part of a big game. The only thing the little creature wants is to go home. So like the pigeon, people today are passive recipients in a violence-ridden world,” Choiti explains her play's premise.
Her interest was piqued after meeting a kabutar baaz in old Delhi. “Then I read a story about a war pigeon. I found it so relevant to our times,” she says.
The entire show is created with metaphors, like paintings, children's toys, games (“to show that war is finally a game”) and a pair of boots (“a symbol of power”). “I want the audience to watch a story and create some of their own to fill in the blanks.”
A Bird's Eye View
When: June 30; 6.30 P.M.
Where: Studio Safdar, 2253-E Shadikhampur, New Delhi-110008