Home Chennai New play, Odyssey, explores plots and spaces

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Why Bangalore-based Siddhanth Sundar’s genre-defying play, Odyssey, is an experiment waiting to happen

For director-actor Siddhanth Sundar, life would be meaningless without theatre. Though he has worked in the Bangalore circuit for over nine years, Sundar swears by his three-month theatre training under Koumarane Valavane from Indianostrum Theatre, Pondicherry, last August.  “The training taught me that theatre is all about giving and not taking. Why should one make a play, keeping in mind how the audience will react to it? It is about exploring what you want to give,” he says. With his latest, Odyssey, all set to premiere in Pondicherry next weekend, the director hopes to take the audience through a journey and make them understand the meaning of ‘space’.

Without a tag
Produced by Sundar’s Lights Off Productions, the director calls his play, “genreless”. Simply put, it is “an exploration of space’’ on stage. Odyssey will feature nine Bangalore-based actors, many of them newcomers, and has nothing to do with Homer’s epic. ‘‘The story also brings a connection between mother, time and space; it starts off with the big bang theory and where we are today. You will get angry, laugh, cry and find satire in this play,” promises the 29-year-old, who is being offered different performance spaces in Bangalore for the rehearsal. “Alliance Francaise Bangalore, Attakalari and other organisations have offered their theatre space so we can practice. This is because my play has to do a lot with ‘space’ and by ‘space’ I mean what is inside you,” he explains.

IMG_20140713_221126The drama of life
For Sundar it is the drama around him that inspires him to be a part of theatre. “There is so much drama at home and outside. However, my first inspiration was this Marwadi play at Ranga Shankara, which was about a village based girl and the problems she faces, there.” With over six plays to his credit, Sundar still feels like this is his first. “My previous plays have dealt with serious subjects like sexual harassment, serious human rights issues, etc. I have even done a fairy tale but this feels different,” he shares.

No to comedy
Observing the state of theatre in the country, Sundar says, “More people want to express themselves today— be it a theatre artiste, radio jockey, a dancer or singer. To me it feels like the Mexican revolution which gave rise to a sea of artists in Spain. People go by the theory, ‘doesn’t matter if this doesn’t work. Let’s try something more’.” Though Sundar likes making fun plays, he does not understand why it is all about comedy. “Everyone just wants to laugh. Theatre is all about comedy these days. I wish we’d get out of that mode,” he concludes.

At Indianostrum Theatre, from July 25 to 27. Tickets at Rs. 200. Details: 0413 2341475

—Mrinalini Sundar

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