26 December 2011


- by Shataf Figar

Photo: Emma Cameron
The workshop with Douglas so far has helped me refine my performance as an actor. Each day I wish for the clock to travel to 4pm as fast as possible so that we can start our workshop. I am like a little kid waiting with my bags packed to enter a space that focuses on the word refinement. Refinement of the skills that we possess.

25 December 2011


- Dana Roy

Re-reading the post Shut up and Listen, it strikes me that I have not at all been able to capture how one’s senses seem to reach out into the world. Just as your eyes find the horizon when you are out in the open, just as the moonlight lights up all of that great distance into the beyond, just as you look into the horizon and somehow you are present there at the far end of where your eyes take you, so too you discover a horizon of sound.

24 December 2011

Sundarbans - where truly nothing is waiting yet it awaits

- what exists there and what exists no more, only a sense captured,
through my lenses
- a being there, settling..unsettling, seized and held within, through my senses

Some thoughts...

23 December 2011

Doug - Day 1

- by Shataf Figar

Today was the first day of the much awaited 2 week long workshop with Douglas. The day started with some text reading. We picked up a text from The Hungry Tide. Took the first line from it and worked on it with a new technique. "in our legends it is said that a goddess's descent from the heavens would have split the earth had the lord not tamed her torrents by tying it to his ash smeared locks". We looked at each word in isolation and then built an action for each word. Once this was done we spent time individually working on identifying the action to the word one by one. Then we got into a circle and read the text out with their respective actions one at a time. We then gave the lines more fluidity by going all the way. The objective was to let each come alive and live in the present moment. Not assuming what the next words coming up were. We were told not to attach our feeling but to look at it the way the author of the text wrote it. The muscular movement in the brain, face and gestures were to be recorded and then collectively put together for the final reading. The connectedness with each word was also very important. THEN WE ASKED THE QUESTION WHY? WHY DO I WANT TO SAY THIs?


by Ruchira Das
floating down the Chituri forest
We were going down the river on the boat, when suddenly from the forest nearby we heard something which sounded like the cacaphony of birds - when they come back to their nests in the evening - but this was broad daylight ! - could it be monkeys chattering then? but there wasn't even one to be seen!

Later we realised it's only the echo of the boat's motor from the forest- that marvel of nature had taken that mechanical drone and turned it into a natural sound of its own!

[read more on the India phase of The Edge project]

19 December 2011

First days...

-Lav Kanoi

On Friday 16th December, we’d had our first formal session with Douglas, Vicky, Emma et al. of Transport Theatre UK.

The Friday session did not start the ‘workshop’ proper; some of us who unhappily did not go to the Sundarbans were brought up to speed.  We were also introduced to Transport Theatre’s and Douglas’ work.  Each of the three productions that Douglas spoke of were topical and quite specific – ranging from shifting identities and dislocation in 20th c. Europe, to the US war on Iraq and affected minority issues; although these narratives approached a more encompassing human experience from what I could gather from the all too small previews (and verbal descriptions) of the productions. This feeling may have been, of course, an effect of the way the stories were told and presented to us; and we were reminded that theatre is essentially storytelling, perhaps essential storytelling.

BURIRDABRI: Sunday, 11 December 2011

- Vikram Iyengar

I am sitting in the prow of a small launch in the Sundarbans. It is 2.30pm and we have just about ten minutes ago turned into a wide river – which I think is the Jhilla – from the Burirdabri Khal. The waters are falling. The tide is receding revealing more and more of the land they submerge, more and more of the contours of the narrow creeks they flood, more and more of the network of mangrove roots that hold up the trees in a tangled and interconnected mesh of precarious support. The waters are calmer now, with gentle ripples – the strongest being the waves our launch kicks back as it glides sedately forward. The surface reflects floating impressions of what lines the banks – a myriad shades of green and brown that will defy the colour palette of the most inventive painter. And as one moves away from the bank in this vast expanse of water that is only one of the many rivers that we have experienced since yesterday, it reflects the blue-grey milkiness of the sky – a depth below reflecting a depth above. To my left the sun has begun its journey into the earth, and the waters there shine silver as they catch the light, play with it, throw it up momently in little celebratory crests of gold and subside once again, seemingly at peace.  Yes, the tide is receding, but as the sun warms my left shoulder I remember this morning when it was engaged in conflict with the thick fog that swirled up from the rising waters, only managing to imbue the mists with a greyness of intangibility. The air was damp, the stiff breeze had a chilly bite to it, and the sun only appeared as a suffocated pale disc, looking more like the moon than its powerful self. But in moments when the fog let down its guard and a bundle of rays managed to get through, the waters shone like burnished gold, delighted in the promise of a warmth to come. It was all magical then, it is all magical now.

Shut up and Listen

Shut up and Listen

Everywhere you go in the Sundarbans you meet loud tourists shouting at the top of their voices to each other “Eikhaney kichu nei, there is nothing here’. Looking out of the enclosed walkway meant for tourists at the mangroves and the mud they are convinced there is nothing out there worth any attention. Thankfully they leave quickly. The trick that this place teaches you over and over again is to stop filling the space with you and then, ah, and then the Sundarbans offers a feast for the senses.

17 December 2011

Some Verses

Some verses...
- Amlan Chaudhuri

Be(n)dhechhe Eman-o ghar
ShuNyer upar po(n)jtaa ka're ....
Dhanya dhanya ba'li tare!
[ What  a house He has built in thin air!
But how firmly founded!
Bravo, bravo to him!]

Lalon Shah phokir.

O re, noukaar upar Ganga Bojhaai ..............................................
[ It's a scary game to watch:
A boat loaded with a river, sails on dry land.
The river's name is the Water of Life.
You can find it in the microcosm.
In a wink of an eye it overflows its banks,
In a wink it dries up, too!]

the title song from Ritwik Ghatak's " The River Called Titas"

[read more on the India phase of The Edge project]

Sundarbans Moon Journal

Sundarbans Moon Journal            -  December 2011
- Dana Roy

(timings are approximates since I was looking at more fascinating things than my watch)

10th December
5ish in the evening: Travelling from Bali Island in a launch we see the red moon before the approaching lunar eclipse. There in that half light on the river I wonder for a second if that red full moon is the disk of the sun. Slow logic tells me it isn’t, the sun had already set leaving long red fingers of twilight across the sky and the low hanging red moon
Song in head: Jersey Thursday
night brought on it’s purple cloak of velvet to the sky, and the gulls were wheeling spinning…”

The Sundarbans trip: Bali, Pakhiraloy and Burirdabri (10 to 12 December 2011)

The Sundarbans trip: Bali, Pakhiraloy and Burirdabri (10 to 12 December 2011)

- Vikram Iyengar

We set off at 6.30am for Gadkhali via Basanti – three cars meeting at Science City before two Sumos veered off left. Thick fog you could cut with a knife enveloped us, barely letting us see the road before us and only occasionally revealing the surroundings – ponds dotted with pink and white lotuses, houses which moved from concrete into mud constructions, and sudden busy wholesale markets of vegetables and fish. Breakfasted on the local petai paratha at Basanti and finally arrived into Gadkhali at about 10.30am – about an hour late thanks to the fog. 

01 December 2011

Attending the Handia Kathak Mahayagya: November 2011

Ranan and Samskritiki Shreyaskar members with Pt. Birju Maharaj and Smt. Saswati Sen
Senior students of Brindar - Ranan's Kathak training wing - attended and performed at the first Handia Kathak Mahayagya organised by Pandit Birju Maharaj and Smt. Saswati Sen through Kalashram. The Brindar students were accompanied by Debashree Bhattacharya under whom they have trained.
Samskritiki Shreyaskar, Smt. Rani Karnaa's academy - Smt. Karnaa being Debahsree's guru - was also represented and the whole group presented two generations of students and performers trained in her personal style of Kathak. 

Debosmita Roychowdhury, Indudipa Sinha, Surasree Kundu and Surangama Majumdar write in on their experience.