Shena Gamat

New Performance

Grant Period: Three Months

Actor and dancer Shena Gamat indicates her intention to create magic on stage with her production of The Pink Balloon. She has been involved with performance since the age of 13. She is trained in ballet and modern dance, and has worked as an actor with theatre directors Roysten Abel, Anamika Haksar, Vivek Mansukhani, Sohaila Kapoor and Sita Raina, and as a dancer with choreographer Rashid Ansari. She has been a part of The Mobius Strip, a theatre movement group, for four years. She has also been co-editor and publisher of the rock magazine, The Rock Street Journal.

Shena’s journey to conceiving The Pink Balloon as a performance is quite interesting. In October 2006, she suffered a dance-related injury and started drawing and making little detailed pieces of artwork, which continued non-stop for almost a month. One series of drawings became a small booklet which told the story of the pink balloon. Her artwork inspired her to explore a way of working that combined the world of performance and the world she had recently discovered––that of art and design. This led her to imagine a ‘moving’ version of the book ‘The Pink Balloon’––a performance in ten scenes that will innovatively fuse fine art, theatre, dance, new media, supported by experimental techniques. The story of the pink balloon is a metaphor for the journey of a human being ––from birth, through the aches and delights of living, to the final destination, which is the attainment of bliss.

Shena is aware that “The Pink Balloon runs the danger of being simply ‘fluff’ and naïve”, but she is confident that “by melding... various elements”, she can leave “the audience with a sense of joy and magic”. She believes that her challenge lies in capturing the effervescent quality of the book, in the production. Shena also has a lot of faith in the abilities of her creative team––which includes designer Anshu Arora, choreographer Rashid Ansari, producer Ashish Paliwal, technical director Tushar Bhartia, musician Arjun Sen, video artist Surajit Sarkar and the two dancers, Charu Shankar and Padma Damodaran­­––to bring together a number of technical and creative elements. The production is special in telling its story not only through the dancers and actors, but also through its materials, set and light design. It will use LED lights and also a technique known as the Black Light Theatre (perhaps for the first time in India). According to Shena, Black Light Theatre, which makes use of the properties of UV light and fluorescent materials to create astonishing effects for performance, will “work towards creating that sense of the magical”.

The performance will premiere in New Delhi in the third week of October 2007. Shena hopes to take the performance to other metros in the country as well as to international theatre festivals.