Puducherry’s Francophonie festival gets under way

Bhu Earth will perform their new show 'VAST' at Alliance Francaise as part of the ‘Les francophonies de Pondicherry’ festival. Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Bhu Earth will perform their new production ‘VAST’, an amalgam of Kerala’s martial art kalaripayattu and contemporary music and theatre, at the Alliance Francaise on Friday.

Philippe Pelen Baldini, artistic director of the show along with Thierry Moucazambo from Reunion Island theatre present the creation under the auspices of the first edition of ‘Les Francophonies de Pondicherry’, a celebration of the Francophone identity of the city.

The ‘Les Francophonies de Pondicherry’ will be held here from March 21-25 jointly by the French Institute in India, the Consulate General of France in Puducherry, Alliance Francaise and the French International Lycee School in collaboration with the Department of Tourism.

VAST, which its creators describe as “organic, hypnotic, poetic and universal”, evokes on stage the journey of a young man from Nepal who is forced into exile in a big Indian city. For the show, Baldini and Moucazambo have collaborated with Gopal Dalami, a young Indian contemporary dancer with Nepalese origins.

The performance is co-hosted by Auroville Art Service, Surya Performance Lab, Ritam Auroville, SAIIER, Porteurs d’eau in collaboration with Svaram.

The metaphysical exposition is essentially about how the human body carries within itself the memory of vastness. It is about how the human body, which despite rupture, oppression, and confinement, has a nostalgia for nature and vastness.

The story thread is of a young boy from Nepal who has been snatched from his family and home in the Himalayas. Kidnapped and abused, he now lives in a slum in a big city in India. He is all alone in the world leading a stifling life in his small room. Despite confinement and misery, he tries, day after day, to find in his body a door that opens to the vastness, a path to the Himalayas, nature, and his own unlimited potential. An encounter with a strange character (god Hanuman) who is heroic, wise, and full of humour, helps him on his journey.

The story is enacted by two performers: both actors and contemporary dancers. For the young boy in the story, whose childhood and dreams were broken, the journey from confinement to freedom is a process of reconnection with nature and with himself without any limitation. In this journey he is helped by Hanuman. Together they reconnect with the vastness from where they both came from. Hanuman is introduced here as a special character, a symbol of primordial memory. Hanuman, is known by different names in China, Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere, the VAST team said.

New technology

On the production front, the show uses new technologies for sound and works with different sound frequencies. It also explores the relationship between the body and mother tongue and between the body and ancient mantric poetry, a near-Himalayan experience of mind expansion.

VAST will draw upon contemporary dance, theatre, vocal work, and even aerial dance to explore this inner territory between confinement and vastness, according to the team.

Bhu Earth will be staging VAST on national and international tours through this year and the next.

The one-hour show, is slated to start at the Alliance Francaise at 7:30 pm.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 2:48:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherrys-francophonie-festival-gets-under-way/article26601971.ece

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