We were very excited when we heard we should come to India to conduct a 10-day-Workshop on theatre for toddlers. We didn´t know what to expect. We had heard a couple of things about Indians - for example that they are not very punctual in comparison to us Germans and that it is difficult to criticize openly. But during our stay, we experienced just the opposite!
On Monday the 31st August we arrived at the Ranga Shankara. 17 theatre colleagues from all over India welcomed us and told us about their background.
Lots of unusual names were said and we were wondering if we would be able to remember them quickly. We managed, after a few hours we knew not only the names but got to know our colleagues much better.
Right from the first day we felt that there was an amazing energy in the group! Everyone was absolutely full of wonder, excitement and openness. 7 days we worked together with the whole group. Two days more we could work with the colleagues from Bangalore.
After understanding the production and research process of the play “The big Lalula”, our colleagues developed ideas and concepts for theatre games and their own performances. Some of them could be “tested” in a day nursery straight away.
It was an overwhelming time of exchange. We got to know our colleagues, learned about there ways of working and the structural problems that theatre people in India struggle with. We learned about Indian theatre traditions and that many issues do not depend on which country or culture one is from!
It was an intense time of exchange. We were amazed about the willingness to experiment together. The openness to criticize each other, the trust were there right from the beginning.
At the end of the workshop we saw performance concepts and game ideas where the year long experiences of our colleagues was well visible.
Back in Mannheim we are still very excited and hope that the seeds that have been sown are going to grow and that there will soon be some performances for very young children. We are hpoing to stay in contact and continue the exchange and hopefully we can also come and see the productions!
What is amazing in India is traffic. In Germany it would not work as it works in India. Many cars, motorbikes and rikshas are supposed to share the street. Even if it seems to be too tight or too narrow every now and then, it works. Using the horn in this context is not – as in Germany- an expression of anger or aggression, no, it rather shows all traffic participants who´s on the road and who the attention should be shared with. Using a riksha nearly every morning as a person from Germany you need to relax. You need to get used to it. And you´ll see that it works. You also need to get used to the sound that goes with it. Being next to a main road means that you´ll always hear the beeping and the horns. In the workshop room, in the Ranga Shankara, in the hotel room, you´ll always have that background sound.