Theatre of Quietude: Poignant tales told by silences

Told By the Wind is a co-created performance

January 19, 2020 10:55 pm | Updated January 20, 2020 09:28 am IST - Thrissur

Phillip Zarilli

Phillip Zarilli

Stories told by embodied silences. Phillip Zarilli, internationally well-known director, actor/performer, is inspired by the ‘Theatre of Quietude’, where there are no words, only subtle performances.

Told By the Wind , by Mr. Zarilli’s Llanarth Group, to be staged on the inaugural day of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) on Monday, is a quiet sensory poetry, which will trigger the imagination of the audience.

Told By the Wind is inspired by the notion of the word, quiet, which creates an opportunity for the audience to imaginatively enter into what is happening on the stage,” says Mr. Zarilli, who is an Emeritus Professor of Performance Practice at Exeter University in the U.K.


“The basic principle of quietude is what the Japanese playwright Ota Shogo terms ‘the power of passivity’. Passivity in art refers to the making of aesthetic distance. Instead of trying to aggressively transmit meaning to the audience, passivity exercises a spirit of ‘self reliance’ that compels the audience to attend, focus and participate imaginatively in the pursuit of signification, meaning and pleasure. Thus passivity paradoxically engages the audience in a dynamic exchange of energy.”

Two figures, two lives and multiple time space — Told By the Wind is a new performance movement and text that dance in an inner space. Stories are evoked and told by embodied silences, splintered interactions and slowed down motion. It is a sensory engagement of the performer as he senses the wind.

“It is not a play, in the traditional sense. But a co-created performance. It is not obvious. There is no straight forward narration. It triggers the imagination of the viewers and give them scope to interpret in their own way,” Mr. Zarilli said.


The 55-minute performance is intimate and meditative. It is a requiem for the unseen. The audience will be invited to slow down, listen and breathe with the performers, engaging in a process of dynamic imagining, in the midst of ‘quietude’.

Seven years in Kerala

Mr. Zarilli, who lived for seven years in Kerala, is trained in Kathakali, kalaripayattu and yoga. He had successfully incorporated these into his performance.

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