The second show from Mumbai-based alternative theatre collective Shapeshift, Moonfool, is set to make its city debut at Rangashankara. Fresh from its premiere in Auroville and a successful, sell-out run at Prithvi Theatre, this devised theatre piece explores love and loss, using humans’ relationship with the moon as a metaphor for eternal longing.
“We hope to change people’s expectations of theatre,” begins director Sujay Saple, who founded the Shapeshift collective in 2012. Describing the troupe as ‘collaborative and interdisciplinary’, he says that they blur the lines between dance and theatre. “Auditioning for dance festivals, we’re told that our work is too theatrical, but thespians often see us as contemporary dancers,” he says, adding that he regards this as a positive sign. “It means we’re working in that hybrid space, which is precisely where we want to be,” he shares. While their first show, Unselfed, was an abstract exploration of the nature of ‘self’, Moonfool aims to have a more universal appeal. “We wanted to hone in on love stories, as everyone can relate to that,” explains Saple.
Join the dots
Folklore, poems, festivals and traditions all make an appearance, with the four-strong cast contributing to the evolution of the play over a period of six months. Describing the process as ‘a fun ride,’ Saple explains that he provided the ‘outside eye’, pushing the actors to their limits, but also reigning them in at times. “Even in a devised theatre piece, the final responsibility has to be with the director, who can think about how meaning is unfolding for a watcher,” he says. And while Shapeshift’s second offering is certainly less
abstract than its first, it still demands the full emotional engagement of audience members, who are expected to let their own experiences shape how they interpret meaning. “I always hope for a certain level of surrender from those watching our plays. The biggest triumph of all is when people make their own connections – 300 people watching the play will see 300 different narratives, and for me that’s very exciting,” Saple signs off.
May 16-17, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm.
At JP Nagar. Tickets (`300) on
—Maegan Dobson Sippy