Moving - to Germany and towards the end of the play

We are settling into our new lives in Mannheim. For some of us it meant coming home, seeing their children and loved ones and for the rest of us it is another transit bed and space, but because we moved with the whole team, the transition is more a physical one. We freeze. We are wrappend in layers of clothes. We eat cheese and brown bread and pasta apart from Shrunga and Mustafa who have carried 7,2 kg of MTR ready made south Indian meals to Mannheim.

We have also reached the end of the play - at least the first round of blocking, after which a whole new round of fine tuning and revisiting will start.

This is how NAZs sister was developed yesterday. In the original script she is a brother, in our version the mother and sister are both played by Pallavi. The character is that of a refugee, whose parents have sent her to London in the hope that she can become a doctor and send money home. This utopia explodes for Naz as he finds her in a small room in London, wahsing cars for a living, barely surviving, having become bitter and cynical.

We again used the statue exercise to give her gestures, body positions and movements.

Pallavi's jetlag actually helped to find the exhausted look on her face.


the last days in Nrityagram

three days ago it suddenly became hot. afternoon rehearsals are a challenge now and if we would stay longer, we would need to introduce the concept of siesta to our day and sleep form 2 to 6 and work in the evenings. We are all a little exhausted from the four weeks of intense rehearsals, in the play we have reached the last quarter, the part where Naz and Krysia are on the boat crossing the sea. We have had two game nights - what fun. Everybody is getting really good at "Werewolve", only Shrunga gets killed every time - and me!


Guests of honour

Our singer and actress Pallavi had a concert in an amazing place sunday evening and took us along as her German guests. But boy, we were not prepared for this. The small village close to Bangalore is dominated by an organisation that feeds and educates 8000 (!) boys - homeless or poor. The Swamiji (holy man) who founded and runs the organisation is 104 years old. We watched the boys eating, met many of them and ended up on the stage with Pallavi. We had our glimpse of fame when we were being "falicitated" with shawls and flower garlands and Pallavi introuced each one of us to the crowd, all of them shouting our names. Andrea sang "Die Gedanken sind frei" (The thoughts are free, who can guess them, they fly past like nightly shadows, no human can know them, no hunter can shoot them, it remains like that: thoughts are free) for the crowd (wow!) and we went to have dinner, swimming through the crowds of children, many of them secretly touching out white skin. What a night!

Andrea: "Now I really feel we have made it to the other side of the world."

Simone: "I feel like Lady Di."


mornings and people leaving

The mornings at Nrityagram are very special. The nature awakes around 6 o'clock with birds and dogs and a massive energy, kicking us out of bed someitems even before the alam clock rings. Coordt greets the sun every morning

Our two wonderful costume designers, Amba and Evi have left today. Evi is flying back to Germany where she will start stitching the costumes at Schnawwl. We are curious, because the two went shopping for two days and discussed the design all through the night, but we did not even get a glimpse of the fabrics.
Amba is on her way back to Delhi and will join us at Schnawwl later in march. She has said some wise and true things about theatre and intercultural collaborations and she told us her mother had gone to Berliner Ensemble back in the days, where she had met Helene Weigel! Indo-German collaborations do have a long tradition, thanks for reminding us, Amba.


into the third week of rehearsals

After two and a half weeks, we have all settled into our "Big Brother" Paradise called Nrityagram. We eat, live, work together, with all the beauty and problems and frictions that come with it. A good example of two people having a heated artistic discussion, not being able to agree:

a. I feel like a rock.
b. and I am the water that flows around you.
a. but I want to be the water too!
b. what now, rock or water?

today, the rock and the water have found a very fruitful way of negotiationg their tempers and artistic visions. And the rock and the water sleep in the same small room, so there is absolutely no escape!

Our daily routine
Every morning we wake up at 6.30 and do one and a half hours of silent mediation, Surya Namaskars (sun salutaions), core work and biomechanics. Then we shower, eat huge amounts of fruits and at 9.30 am rehearsal starts with theatre and rythm games and then continuing with the play. We work till 1.30 pm with a short coffee break. At 2 pm we have a south Indian lunch, consisting of two vegetables, rice, dal (lentils) and curd. Then we rest a little in the afternoon heat, wash our clothes in a bucket, prepare the next rehearsal or learn text. We rehearse again from 4 pm to 8 pm. Then dinner is ready in our common area and we spend the evenings discussing, surfing the internet, eating, drinking the local wine. We go to bed between 10 pm and 12 pm.

We have a beautiful rehearsal space since monday, where the Odissi dancers ususally rehearse. On tuesday we had 50 children from Inventure Academy here, who are part of the cyber class project. They travelled two and a half hours from their school to see the first twenty minutes of "Boy with a Suitcase", meet the actors and the team and give us feedback. The kids were amazing and we were all quite happy, that the play seems to be going into the right direction and seems to connect to our future audience. Read comments of the super Grade 7 students here: Cyber class group 2
We announced an essay competition and got the first essay the very same evening! 7th graders, you rock!

finding the characters
A working method we have used to find the movements and gestures and facial expressions of the characters in the play, is the "statue"exercise. Especially for Nikolai, who has about 8 characters in the play with only a few lines for each, this method is very useful. We first read the scene and gather all the factual information that is given about the character. Then we discuss the character and interpret his/ her actions and motivations. Then the actor playing the charatcer is put on a platform and all the others can "form" him or her, move him into different statues, change his costume. Then the actor says what he liked and how he felt and starts moving around with the body position and gestures given to him.
Today we worked on Nikolai and the shephard. Have a look: