Jyoti Dogra

Extending Arts Practice

Grant Period: Over one year

Over the last 15 years, Jyoti Dogra has acted in film, theatre and television, taught with the National School of Drama’s Theatre In Education Company, and learnt Kathakali and Seraikela Chhau. This grant supports her to extend her practice by using Grotowski’s working method to create ‘The Doorway’, a collection of real and imagined stories that have been woven together in a physical narrative.

As space is an integral part of the piece, Jyoti plans to use minimal yet dramatic lighting to delineate and provoke this ever-changing relationship of the actor to space. ‘The Doorway’ will remain an evolving piece as Jyoti plans to do five to six performances every alternate month over a period of a year to different audiences in varied spaces. These could range from art galleries and regular theatre spaces, where the viewing audience consists of people well exposed to different kinds of art practices, to venues in small towns, old people’s homes, prison cells and women’s cooperatives. Jyoti prefers to work with non-linear texts that allow her to experiment with performance style and ‘include’ the spectators, so that they are no longer at a distance, but feel that the work features them, or their concerns, in some immediate way.

With every new performance, Jyoti will deconstruct the piece further, examining the essential nature of each of the segments, and investigating the nature of the dualities within them. She will also examine the nature of the act of communicating, and how it is altered by a change of language––from English to Punjabi, or to gibberish, or to sounds. Rather than looking to convey the specifics of personal stories, the piece aims to use them as provocations, to evoke associations or stories in the mind of the spectator––turning the spectator into the one being watched.

Jyoti plans to engage in dialogue with the audience after each performance, wherever possible, to complete the viewing experience. Jyoti would like the discussions to address the audience’s role in the making of art today, how theatre is currently perceived, how non-linear work is viewed, the presence and absence of narrative and how it shapes and directs our engagement, and ideas of active and passive viewing.