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.h.g., the famous installation project makes its India debut

This weekend, theatre practitioners Cristina Galbiati and Ilija Luginbuehl will make the India debut of their multimedia project, called .h.g., in the city. And it’s unique in more ways than one. First, it tells you about the lesser-known aspects of the famous fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. Second, it transports you to the forests where the siblings were abandoned. Quite literally.
SocietLead5Let’s ‘walk’ you through the story, because that’s exactly what you will need to do at the venue. h.g. is a series of nine installations and passageways, with each installation being a physical-sensory room. Spectators will be handed earphones and a torch at the start of the tour, and they need to follow the ‘voice’ and walk through the world of Hansel and Gretel, recreated in these rooms, for 30 minutes. Alone!
And what you get to hear, see, and even smell during your tour is more or less the darker side of the fairy tale. The installations are dimly lit to recreate the sombre environment. Galbiati says, “Hansel and Gretel is a cruel tale. It’s a story about hunger, and exile. Though it is popular as a children’s story, it holds importance for adults as well. Through our work, we are trying to look at those deeper meanings. For instance, getting lost in a forest is metaphoric. It’s like being lost in your life.”
Their project, which aims to merge elements of theatre, visual arts and sounds, was first showcased in Switzerland in 2009, and has travelled to 15 countries since. Besides Bengaluru, it will also be unveiled at Kolkata.
The duo have been trying to push the boundaries of theatre with their company Trickster-p in Switzerland. Galbiati explains, “From the beginning, we wanted to explore the possibilities of space, and investigate how audiences can be part of the dramaturgy. So in 2SocietyLead1009 with .h.g., we decided not to have live performers. Here, the intimacy of the spectator with installations, minus an external interference, is a key feature.”
Soundscape is another of the production’s highlights. “We have used the binaural recording method. It reproduces the entire audio spectrum and creates tri-dimensional sound, hence the effect on listeners is highly realistic,” she tells us.
At the end of the 30-minute tour, Galbiati has often had audience come and hug her, or tell her stories of getting lost as a child. “It’s truly touching, especially since I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. But they are willing to share their personal stories,” she says.
So are you ready to venture into this forest alone?

January 8-11. At Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Indiranagar. 5-8 pm.Tickets (Rs 250) on
bookmyshow.com
—Barkha Kumari

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