From "Rags to Riches"...of the soul

Instabili Vaganti was back to India to perform one of the  most symbolic work produced within the Project Rags of Memory, after the work session led in Shantiniketan on September 2015. An original and experimental composition, RAGS OF MEMORY is a play based on physical and vocal actions, live music, and video-projections. The stage is set with three circles of light filled with symbolic elements: rice, soil, stones, water, fire. A timeless holy garden where a man and a woman, on stage or projection, perform mysterious ritual actions and songs, each time in an original and unique way. The performance is a metaphor of the circle of life where birth, pathos, and death represent a cyclic and repetitive path fixed in the eternity of the ritual. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to Anna Dora Dorno & Nicola Pianzola of Instabili Vaganti.

Does theater help people remember, does it improve memory?

For sure an emotional and emphatic theatre such ours drives the spectator on a journey through its memories. More than improving memory it helps to open some inner doors and overcome barriers in order to not be scared to remember. This what we do in Rags of memory which is basically a ritual in memory and on its different aspects:

  • The individual memory
  • The biological memory
  • The memory of the humanity

All the process was inspired by a Marcel Proust sentence“… the legs, the arms are full of blunted memories”. The actions of the performers aim to let the memories appear from the remote lands of the body, of a body able to remember.

What can theater do that say therapy or counselling cannot do?

We believe theatre and the arts are therapeutic in itself, because of its chatarsis, There’s no need to force a process of therapy. The spectator should trust the performer when the performer is honest on stage and is seeking for  truth. Only through this symbiosis the chatarsis can happen. Theatre cannot solve all the problems in people and in the world, but can show a way to do it.

What is your favorite part of the theater experience?

There are two extremely important moments in all the artistic process. One happen to loneliness when the performer is entering into the creative process, experimenting with his body, voice, imagination and memories. It’s the moment of the meeting of the unknown. Something about you that you might not know and you meet because you pass from the everyday life to another territory in which your senses are open to listen, and your body is ready to react without the need of thinking and judging an action.  The second one happens in front of the spectator and is this magic meeting in which the audience is invited in this extra daily land to discover something new together with the performer.

Tell me about a special moment with the audience?

Sometimes there’s a certain kind of silence of the audience that seems the pure voice of the humanity speaking. When you feel that they feel that time and space dimension are changing you feel the audience is with you in that moment that seems eternal. In Rags of memory the last song, sometimes managed to gather people. In Korea, from example, a Korean family watching the performance and captured by the ending song invited us to share 2 days with them in their city, house, family. In Kosovo, all the audience started to sing this last song. In India after our last performance in Mumbai, an old man told me that he has seen a poem becoming body and a body becoming poem.

How is your theater unique?

In these last 12 years of work I think we have managed to find our poetic's, our way and especially the ethics of our work. I think that the uniqueness of our theatre is its intercultural aspects that allowed us to work worldwide and to include performers of different cultural backgrounds and countries in our projects. This being at the same time“global” and “glocal” is what distinguishes our theatre.

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