30 May 2010


Driving back home from a Ranan repertory session about 10.30pm on Monday, 24 May 2010 I received an SMS from one of the repertory dancers who is also a doctor at Kothari Medical Centre and Research Institute: “Shyamanand Jalan is no more”. He had passed away in hospital about 9.15 that night.

The next day at his Alipur home a group of us from Ranan stood amongst droves of people who had come to pay their respects. I looked around at the spacious house and was reminded of a conversation with his wife Chetna Jalan a few years ago. She was talking about the revamping of the house while Shyamanandji was recovering from his paralytic attack: the installation of a lift to the mezzanine level dining room and his bedroom on the first floor, the remote controlled curtains which allowed him to open up or shut off a window that looked down into the living room, and many more such little additions. All of these, while practically invisible to those who did not know about it, allowed this man full control, access and enjoyment of aspects of life which are so often cut off by illness and disability. SJ – as he was referred to by so many of us – refused to let an uncooperative body interfere with his ever alert, ever young and ever enthusiastic mind. Till the very end he was brimming with ideas, pestering people to think differently and creatively, and fully and passionately engaged with every single pie he had his finger in.

22 May 2010

'Exploring Shakespeare On Your Feet: a workshop by Rebecca Gould at Ranan

The first set of photographs of Rebecca Gould's workshop at Ranan have been uploaded. Click the image to view the album

16 May 2010

Responses to Rebecca Gould's Workshop

Sunday, 16 May 2010 saw Ranan host its first workshop in our own space: 'Exploring Shakespeare On Your Feet' led by Rebecca Gould. The day-long session was attended by 17 participants ranging from actors to students to teachers.
Comments from the Guest Book follow. Photographs will be uploaded soon.

11 May 2010

DIRECTIONS TO RANAN (8 Sultan Alam Road, Kolkata 700033)

The Ranan workspace is on the ground floor of 8 Sultan Alam Road. This is the lane diagonally opposite Bhawani Cinema and near Rabindra Sarobar Metro Station. Enter the lane and walk on for about two minutes till you see a wide black gate on your right leading to a small complex of flats. This is 8 Sultan Alam Road. Ranan is Flat No. 105 on the ground floor.

02 May 2010

THE DIRECTORS' FORUM: 2. Laboratory Session with Ralf Richardt Strøbeck

The main focus of the Forum centred around eight 3-day Laboratory sessions conducted by directors from across the world. The Labs ran in two groups: 4 in each (9 to 11 April and 13 to 15 April), so one could choose two out of the eight. My choice for the first round was Ralf Richardt Strøbeck. Ralf, till recently worked with Hotel Proforma, Copenhagen and now heads his own Loop Group. I had seen some of Hotel Proforma’s work on video at an earlier seminar in Aberystwyth in 2003, and was struck by their spectacularly visual productions involving installation, live performance, astonishing sound score and hi-tech design. Every bit of their work is premeditated down to the second, so much so that each performance exists as a graphic diagram plotting time against event (performance, video, design). Some of these Ralf showed us in his presentation on the first evening of the Forum. In his Lab, though, Ralf had chosen to explore something completely different, something he had never attempted before as a director, and an area he was keen to transfer into.

01 May 2010


In late 2003 I started work on Ranan’s first dance and theatre experimentation: Crossings, exploring the facets of Lady Macbeth. It was first produced as a workshop production in April 2004 and went through several re-writes and versions before crystallising in December 2007.

These experimentations with classical dance meets text-based theatre continued with the short-lived Nagamandala in 2005 and Chitra in 2007, which had a slightly longer life. The culmination for me, so far as a theatre director, has been Equus – which we produced in April 2009. I personally feel that this production marks a sort of arriving at the beginnings of the form I have been searching for.

But Equus has also brought home to me very strongly how large the divide is between my training and instinctive understanding of dance and choreography and drama. To direct is a whole different ball game, and involves a whole different set of skills which I must develop. In this context, attending the Directors’ Forum at Aberystwyth, Wales – a place which is almost my second home by virtue of doing my MA there between 2000 to 2003 – was a God-sent opportunity. Richard Gough, my professor and dissertation advisor, who saw Equus at the Prithvi Festival in Mumbai, proposed that I attend this Forum organised by the Centre for Performance Research which he heads, and the British Council, Kolkata came forward to support my travel costs.