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About The Show
Lifeline 99 99 is an absurd telephone line that interrogates a critical question that confronts us today – in the age of growing indifference and shrinking empathy, can one still create a genuine human connection?
Dial in for a unique experience where you get to choose from seven distinct, live and interactive stories that'll tell you something about the fate of humanity in the times to come.
The show premiered for audiences in India in February 2021 with four housefull weekends and 140+ hours of one-on-one calls. After two independent runs and participation in three festivals, this experience is now available to audiences in India for its closing run.
How does it work?
The audience calls a phone number, where they hear an IVRS voice that asks them certain questions and subsequently connects them to any one of the seven experiences currently available.
What do you mean by interactive theatre?
In interactive theatre, you can have a free conversation with the performer – ask questions, offer comments or even take charge of the story unfolds! Depending on your level of interactivity and how the conversation flows, the show lasts anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes. No two shows are alike as each conversation is unique and personalized to you and how your answers drive the story.
What experiences are available?
You can have a one-on-one conversation with a conflicted sex chat operator, an aggrieved idealist, a dude alien, a morbid insurance agent, a memory alteration researcher, an ethical scammer or art itself, personified... all telling you something about the times we live in.
Where does this show take place?
This show takes place on the phone. It is an audio-only experience, making it suitable for not only those with limited or impaired vision, but also those experiencing screen fatigue. This show can be attended from the comfort of your bed at your home. All you require is your phone and some network. Headphones are not mandatory but are recommended.
What happens after I buy a ticket?
You will receive an email with more instructions for the show day as well as a Whatsapp reminder on the day.
Press & Media
"An example of how theatre has adapted to and thrived in socially distanced times" (Read More)
"Lifeline 99 99 shines as an experimental art practice among the evolving theatre explorations in the Indian sub-continent. This is one phone call you definitely do not want to miss." (Read More)
“Perhaps the intent of Lifeline 99 is precisely this, to remind us what it means to be human and what it means to offer our humanity.” (Read More)
Get in touch for press enquiries at email@example.com
"(Lifeline 99 99) stands out as one of the more innovative forms of theatre which have mushroomed in the post-Covid, socially distanced era." (Read More)
The Daily Guardian
"Lifeline 99 99 is a one-of-a-kind play that blends Interactive Voice Response Service (IVRS) technology with live storytelling over the phone." (Read More)
Mid Day India
"Creative expressions find a way even in the toughest of times. One example is Lifeline 99 99, an interactive play, by Delhi-based Kaivalya Plays, that takes place over a phone call." (Read More)
New Indian Express
"It's a format born of the pandemic. A new kind of theatrical experience invites listeners to dial in and listen to a story as it unfolds live. If they choose, the listener can also engage with the action, helping to shape the play as it unfolds." (Read More)
Meet our 2020 Cohort of Fellows
Additional Credits & Directors Notes
We would like to acknowledge Thespo Audio-Torium, a creative laboratory that encourages audio dramas by emerging theatre-makers, for the role it played in the early days of the project.
We would also like to thank Vivek Madan, Arghya Lahiri, Toral Shah, Nipun Dharmadhikari, Srishti Ray, Neel Chaudhuri, Varoon P. Anand, Nadir Khan for the feedback they shared on the early draft of the project.
We would like to thank Sahith Krishna (Product & Brand Manager), Gayatri Krishnamoorthy (Head of Marketing) and the team at Exotel for supporting this project through their valuable support and guidance.
Kumar Abhimanyu is a Delhi-based actor, director and designer who has been doing theatre for the past six years. He has performed at Old World Theatre Festival, Sahitya Kala Parishad and Bira Fest. He has constantly been engaged in the process of writing and designing his plays. He has completed his master's in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi where he studied under the guidance of Anuradha Kapur, Deepan Sivaraman and Arjun Raina. He has trained with Tadpole Repertory and Indian Ensemble.
Ramita Menon is a freelance yoga teacher, improviser and Spanish language learner from New Delhi, India currently based in Spain. She sees art as an invitation to possibility, a way to be lost and a way to be found. She enjoys creating art essentially about people, their experiences and complexities. Ramita hopes to engage people with art in as many ways as possible creating interdisciplinary and broadly accessible work. She is also a Creative Project Manager at Kaivalya Plays.
Production Manager (Second Run)
Saumya Upadhyay is a writer interested in dramatic storytelling. She also enjoys fantasising about being good at every single art form that she's heard of. Saumya is currently working as the Digital & Spaces Executive at the Little Theatre Group Auditorium, New Delhi.
Nikie Bareja is an artist based out of Delhi, currently pursuing her Post Graduate Diploma in FTII, Pune. She is also a trained Kathak dancer who graduated from St. Stephen’s College in 2019, where she acted and directed productions for the collegiate group The Shakespeare Society that went on to be showcased at the Indian Habitat Centre as part of the Old World Collegiate Theatre Festival, the Shakespeare Society of India as well as Insituto Cervantes.
Akshay Raheja is a theatre director and playwright based in New Delhi. Over the last six years, he has led multiple collaborators to create indelible live theatre experiences. His work has been showcased across India in the Old World Theatre Festival, Sahitya Kala Parishad and the Thespo, International Youth Theatre Festival in Mumbai. His plays have been produced and hosted by eminent Indian cultural institutions like Instituto Cervantes, India Habitat Centre and Jawahar Kala Kendra. He has trained under Tadpole Repertory and assisted Abhishek Majumdar in Eidgah ke Jinnat (2018).
Vanshika is an aspiring actor in love with the gritty world of theatre and a student who is currently pursuing a degree in Hons. English at University of Delhi. She currently works with Kaivalya Plays and El Clavileño - India’s only Spanish theatre group, and has acted in plays like “El cadaver del señor Garcia” and “Marta la piadosa” and and“ Funes el memorioso”.
Production Manager (Premiere)
Stuti Kanoongo is a lifestyle product and graphic designer, who is now focusing on a career in design management. After graduating from NIFT in 2018 and working across different organizations, she graduated from the inaugural batch of the Theatre Management Fellowship by Kaivalya Plays and joined the company as Communications Manager in September 2020. Here, Stuti oversees communications, audience development and program operations, whilst occasionally dabbling in production management.
Raghav Seth is a BA Graduate in Theatre Studies, English and Psychology from CHRIST (Deemed to be University). He is trained in Western Theatre and has also developed a skill for voice acting. He also sings, writes poetry, and has recently got into rapping and film-making. He is a firm believer in growing in his fields and becoming better in his craft! He is a Creative Project Manager at Kaivalya Plays, working extensively across their improv offerings.
Rochan Mathur is a stage and screen actor based in Delhi. He has worked with Kaivalya Plays and Vayam Performing Arts as an actor apart from working as a production assistant for Delhi Dance Theatre, Dur Se Brothers and Patchworks Ensemble. He has acted in digital advertisements and TVCs for brands such as Airtel, Hotstar, Kama Ayurveda, Aakaash Institute and MTG Books, and in videos for MensXp and Indiatimes. He has done 70+ improv comedy shows of 'RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW', Delhi's longest-running short-form improv show by the Playground Improv Collective.
Co-Director, Tech, Performer
Gaurav Singh is a theatre-maker, improviser and arts manager whose artistic practice investigates live performance and audience-performer interactivity using technology and distanced composition. He is currently based in London where he is studying at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He is the General Manager at Kaivalya Plays (India) and the Communications Manager at The Nursery Theatre (UK). He received the prestigious Chevening India Scholarship (2020) as well as the Gender Bender (2019) grant.
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About Kaivalya Plays
Lifeline 99 99 is produced by Kaivalya Plays, an Indian performing arts and production company led by Varoon P. Anand as its Artistic Director and Gaurav Singh as General Manager. Known for their work in spontaneous improvisation, foreign text adaptations, immersive experiences and innovative formats, its root in the cultural capital of India, New Delhi, the group has created innovative artistic experiences with a focus on community-building. Over the course of seven years, they have worked consistently, been very noisy, and built associations with institutions all across India.
Given the show's reliance on improvisation, interactivity and technical immersion, it found a natural fit with Kaivalya Plays’ artistic practice and vision, with a number of team members involved in this project coming in from Kaivalya Plays’ network of freelance practitioners and artists.
Kaivalya Plays is partnering with cloud communication company Exotel for the second run of Lifeline 99 99.
Powering over 4.5 billion calls annually, Exotel is Asia’s largest cloud-based customer communication platform. Exotel's best-in-class communication tech powers calls & SMSes to over 4,500 businesses including Ola, Swiggy, Gojek, Flipkart etc.
As technical partners for Lifeline 99 99, they bring their expertise and guidance to support this interactive theatre show that happens on the phone, leveraging Exotel's interactive voice response system (IVRS) and exophone technology.
Speaking about the partnership, Shivakumar Ganesan, Co-founder & CEO of Exotel, says "It is amazing to see how Kaivalya Plays has used the power of technology to come up with such an engaging presentation. I'm always excited to see the use of cloud communication in such an innovative manner."
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About The Show
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