Grant Period: Over three years
Rang Vidushak was born in 1984 from the ideas of Bansi Kaul and his team of artists. They were dedicated to developing another form of art where laughter was the new celebrative language. The vidushak, the fool or jester, ruled. His wit flowed from folk and tribal expression, rituals, song, myth and folklore, games, jokes and riddles.
Rang Vidushak was established in 1985 in Bhopal to foster new theatrical practices by pooling the creative energies of writers and performing artists. Bansi Kaul, the group's designer-director, has documented the acrobatic, storytelling, and martial art forms of the Hindi belt in developing an actor-training methodology applicable to Vidushak theatre.
During the last five years, Rang Vidushak's actor-training processes have been complemented by work on developing new scripts, based on a wide range of literary sources - Indian, Turkish, Chinese, Russian, and Singaporean. Furthermore, the actors have also been encouraged to write and direct short plays on their own.
Over the next three years, Mr. Kaul’s main objective will be to ensure that the group's theatre methodology penetrates small towns and cities in the Hindi-speaking region. The core group of actors will be retained, but will be mobilised to organise a number of training workshops, festivals and tours, which are expected to lead to the founding of networked theatre centres in Patna, Sagar, Ujjain, Bilaspur, Shahdal, Jagdalpur, Rewa, and Shivpuri.
The actors will first conduct 'Preparatory Theatre Workshops' in their respective hometowns. The aim is to inculcate a serious attitude to theatre work, and identify new talent for 'Intensive Theatre Workshops' with experts in movement, speech, music, stage design, lighting, literature and poetry. Poets and playwrights will join the workshop for the specific purpose of writing plays and songs for the Vidushak's theatre, keeping in view the actors' training methodology.
This grant will enable the group to organise a more systematic and regular children's theatre programme. Theatre activities and productions that respond to the different interests and circumstances of the four groups of children will be introduced. Furthermore, to strengthen their work with under-trials, the group will visit various prisons to identify inmates with an interest in theatre activities. The resulting theatre productions will be staged at different centres.
Grant funds will help document theatre productions and the processes leading up to them. The training of actors, the writing of scripts, the designing of costumes and space, the composing of songs, and the creation of stage properties will be recorded in reports, on video and audio tape, and through drawings, sketches, scroll paintings, and models.