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Corinne Maire delves into the concept of relationships in modern times

Documentary filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz’s family is dispersed across four continents. His parents live in Bangladesh, his brother is in New York and sister’s in Sydney. His son studies in Warsaw, while Dill-Riaz himself works in Berlin. And that’s how most modern families are like these days — separated and far apart. That’s the premise of Swiss director Corinne Maier’s production Past Is Present, through which she raises the question — What’s the concept of a family in our globalised world?

After its India debut on Tuesday in Bengaluru, it will head to Pondicherry, and Mumbai.
Since Past Is Present is a documentary theatre, Maier has pieced together elements of acting along with video footage. Actress Anne Haug will take you through Dill-Riaz’s family relationships as the narrator. Meanwhile, you’ll see Dill-Riaz (who’s turned actor for this production) working on a film on his own family inside his room. Gradually, montages of his family, one that even features a conflict between his father and sister, will come to life.

The inspiration for the show came when Maier was writing a script for one of Dill-Riaz’s films. She says, “I don’t stay as far away as Dill-Riaz does from his relatives. I come from Switzerland, have studied in Germany, and I keep travelling for my work. But I can relate to his situation. A lot of families have to depend on virtual communication channels to talk, communicate, and solve problems.”
But weaving on-stage acting and recorded videos (sometimes even real-time Skype calls) was tricky, Maier tells us of the show that premiered in 2013. “Spatial and temporal settings are different. Dill-Riaz shot the videos in his home. So the ambience, tonality, and even the emotions of the participants are quite different from what’s taking place on the stage. ”

February 2-3. Tickets (Rs.200)
at the venue. At Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar.
7.30 pm. Details: 26493982
— Barkha Kumari

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