In the summer of 2010 I met an Indian director and theatre artist, Hina Siddiqui, at a conference in Manchester, England. In November, 2013, she invited me to Pune, India, to devise a show as part of Pukaar, an English-speaking theatre festival co-organized by Hina’s company, Orchestrated Q’Works. In February 2014, I and White Flag Co-Artistic Director Sean Mahoney packed our bags and traveled to Pune (pronounced Poona or Poonae depending on where you’re from) to engage in one of the most fun theatre-making experiences I’ve ever had.
With our cast of seven, we spent five days building an ensemble and creating content around the subject of money (an idea that planted itself in Sean’s brain when we first started talking about the possibility of going). What character does it play in our lives? Has it always existed? Could we live without it? The resulting performance, This For That, was presented as part of Pukaar on the sixth and seventh days of our trip. (Click here to see rehearsal photos.)
The most striking thing about the whole experience was how not different it was. India was, of course, different—and amazing. But, the process of working with people, of creating theatre with other artists, was totally familiar. It didn’t matter where we were from, or what language we were working in. We had theatre as a common ground that trumped everything else.
White Flag is currently exploring options for future collaborations with Orchestrated Q’Works, both stateside and in India.
For pictures from the performances of This For That, please see the gallery here.
To read an article about White Flag’s devising process featured in the Indian Express, please click here.
For pictures from our non-theatrical adventures in India, please click here.