Friday, June 09, 2006

The Shoestring Story

Shoestring is a group of young theatre professionals brought together by a common view of the theatre as a visceral experience created by a union of the formal and thematic elements. In other words, ours is a theatre where the stagecraft is as integral to a production as the literary and narrative elements.

This interest in the craft of the theatre leads us to experiment with the auditory, visual, plastic and physical elements in our productions, motivating us to engage in a continuous search for unusual forms and themes, thereby constantly reinventing and redefining our theatre.

Shoestring makes no grandstanding claims to arrive at a perfect form, if that were even possible, of theatre. Our only claim is to constantly experiment and explore new theatrical forms.

Shoestring was christened Act II Scene I Productions, in an earlier avatar. Act II Scene I was formed between Vivek V. Narayan and Warren D’Sylva.

This group produced 2 plays in 2005, Life Goes On and Ionesco’s modern classic The Chairs.

Life Goes On was performed at the prestigious intercollegiate dramatic festival Olio, and bagged 5 awards, including Best Play, Best Director, Best Lighting, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

The Chairs was commissioned by the Department of English, St. Xavier’s College, and was presented as part of Ithaka, the annual festival of the English Department. The play was
well received, and was noted for its extensive use of physical action and humour, as well as its unusual scenic design.

The group was renamed Shoestring as part of a larger revision of the group and its activities. In addition to productions and street shows, shoestring’s proposed activities include a
theatre-centric e-magazine, workshops for schoolchildren and aspiring theatre professionals, and a permanent script-writing workshop.

Besides Vivek and Warren, Shoestring counts Prashant Prakash, Meghna Gandhi, Ananya Parikh, Nimisha Dutta Chavan and Bijoy Idicheriah amongst its members, all of whom bring considerable individual experience to Shoestring.

Shoestring has plans for 3 productions in the near future, the first of which is Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. The other productions are adaptations of Salman Rushdie’s endearing novella for children, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and Kafka’s bleak allegory of modern life, The Metamorphosis.

Shoestring attaches great importance to original scripts, members of the group having scripted 3 original plays in the past year, with one more being in the pipeline. Vivek’s The Great Mime, Warren’s Stitch Bitch and Clusterphobia, as well as The Block, written by Prashant Prakash and Naren Chandavarkar, are original scripts that Shoestring intends to produce in the future. Currently, Vivek is working on a performance piece based on Albert Camus' The Plague, and Warren is adaptating Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

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