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(Press Release) A transcultural experiment in Absurdism – ABSURDO by Kaivalya Plays

Press Release (November 2023), for immediate release. For more information, contact Gaurav Singh Nijjer (gaurav@kaivalyaplays.org)


The latest production of a 10-year collaboration between Kaivalya Plays and Instituto Cervantes New Delhi examines the work of 3 Hispanic authors.


Kaivalya Plays and Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi invite you to an evening of absurdist storytelling based on texts from Enrique Jardiel Poncela, Fernando Arrabal and Virgilio Piñera, that delves into the heart of absurdism—a genre celebrated for its defiance of conventional norms and its ability to provoke intellectual discourse. The production, called “ABSURDO” is directed and designed by Varoon P. Anand and Gaurav Singh Nijjer..


One chases the enemy, another chases sleep. Somewhere, one devours an entire mountain while the other slurps on custard. Together they try to make sense of what’s between the lines, and the lines start to disappear. They let go of the questions when the answers begin to appear. Elsewhere, a town awakens to a dwindling yet satisfied populace, whilst a couple lay a picnic table amidst the gunfire. At the core of Absurdism is the acknowledgement that human endeavours to find meaning are often met with a universe that remains indifferent, and the search for inherent purpose is akin to chasing a mirage in a desert of existential uncertainty. Imagine a theatrical performance where the script is written in disappearing ink, and the actors are left ad-libbing in the face of an ever-changing narrative.


Absurdist theatre, a genre characterized by its exploration of the irrational, illogical, and chaotic aspects of the human experience, finds unique expressions in the works of Enrique Jardiel Poncela from Spain, Fernando Arrabal, also from Spain, and Virgilio Piñera from Cuba. While these playwrights share the label of "absurdist," their individual contributions exhibit distinct nuances and cultural influences. Poncela's absurdist works often showcase a satirical and humorous exploration of societal norms and human behaviour. Kaivalya Play’s adaptation of his play "You Have the Eyes of a Femme Fatal," delves into the absurdity of modern love, desire, and human connection. Poncela's writing is characterized by wit and a keen observation of societal absurdities, often using humour as a lens to dissect human folly. Arrabal's absurdist plays, like "Picnic on the Battlefield," take a darker and more surreal turn. This piece portrays the futility and meaninglessness of war, exploring the absurdity of conflict where soldiers fight for indistinguishable motivations. Arrabal's unique blend of absurdity and surrealism creates a heightened, dreamlike atmosphere, challenging conventional narratives and norms. Piñera, hailing from Cuba, brings a distinctly Latin American flavour to the absurdist genre. Kaivalya Plays is staging pieces from his collection of short stories called “Cuentos Frios” (English: Cold Tales), where he navigates the complexities of identity, civil rebellion, and mental health through a piercingly neutral, almost cold narration. Piñera's works often carry a socio-political undertone, reflecting the tumultuous history of Latin America. The absurdity in his plays serves as a mirror to the region's socio-cultural struggles, blending existential questions with the collective experiences of Latin American societies. While united under the umbrella of absurdist theatre, the works of Jardiel Poncela, Arrabal, and Piñera each offer a unique perspective on the absurdities inherent in the human condition. From Poncela's humour-infused societal critiques to Arrabal's surreal and dark exploration of war, and Piñera's socio-political reflections on identity and mental health, these playwrights contribute richly diverse layers to the tapestry of absurdist theatre

Since its inception in 2012, Kaivalya Plays has been a conduit for bringing the voices of Latin American authors to the Indian stage. ABSURDO marks their thirteenth project in this genre, a testament to our ongoing commitment to Latin American drama and literature. Collaborating with Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi and various embassies, they’ve adapted and staged works by prominent authors, making these narratives resonate with Indian audiences. In ABSURDO, the group employs a diverse range of artistic techniques, from traditional theatre methods to non-conventional staging. Live projections, cameras, drawing, multilayered projection fabrics, and a multilingual performance (in English, Hindi, and Spanish with subtitles) enrich the audience's experience, breaking down language barriers and emphasizing the global relevance of the absurdities explored on stage. The stories composed through the latest digital technology tools create an engaging experience that often veers away from a traditional narrative to abstract voyages into themes of violence, excess, alienation, identity and meaninglessness.


DATES & TICKETS


Premiere Night: Monday, November 27, 2023, at 7:30 PM

Second Night: Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at 7:30 PM

Closing Night: Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 7:30 PM


Free entry with prior registration. Reserve your seats at www.kaivalyaplays.org


MEDIA & IMAGES

All images can be found here – Link


RUNNING ORDER:


INTERROGATORIO from “Cuentos Frios” by Virgilio Piñera

A prisoner is confronted with a fundamental question about identity. Presented In Spanish with English and Hindi subtitles.


YOU HAVE THE EYES OF A FEMME FATAL based on the text by Enrique Jardiel Poncela.

What happens when an all encompassing intelligence delves into the interplay of modern love, desire and seduction? Presented In English with Spanish and Hindi subtitles.

MONTAÑA from “Cuentos Frios” by Virgilio Piñera

Persistence, escape or something else entirely? Bit by bit, witness one’s attempt at a geological upheaval. Presented In Spanish with English and Hindi subtitles.


मांस (Meat) from “Cuentos Frios” by Virgilio Piñera

A famine leads to a town beginning to turn to a very personal kind of sustenance. Presented in Hindi with English and Spanish subtitles.


INSOMNIO from “Cuentos Frios” by Virgilio Piñera

An all too familiar state for so many, but is the escape worth the relief? Presented in Spanish with English and Hindi subtitles.


PICNIC ON THE BATTLEFIELD based on the text by Fernando Arrabal.

A family comes together for a lovely picnic in the middle of the battlefield. They are interrupted by an unexpected guest. Nothing unusual about that, right? Presented in English with Hindi and Spanish subtitles.


The performance will be presented on Friday 19th, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st January at the Auditorium at Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi, Connaught Place. See the show timings here: www.kaivalyaplays.org/whats-on


Free entry with prior registration. Seating on first come first served basis. Please reserve your seat here.

CREATIVE TEAM


Direction & Design

Varoon P. Anand, Gaurav Singh Nijjer


Performance 

Dhruv Rai, Shubhra Tandon, Ramita Menon


Stage Management, Production & Costumes

Sukriti, Vidit Singh


Translation, Subtitles, Language Production

Aatika Khan, Kanva Chaudhary, Riddhijit Chattopadhyay, and others 


Documentation, Illustrations and Media

Riddhijit Chattopadhyay, Kaustubh Rajwade


Lights and Technical Operation 

Deeksha Vats, Vidit Singh


Voiceovers

Stuti Kanoongo, Vidur Sehgal, Sukriti, 

Varoon P. Anand, Vidit Singh

 

We would like to acknowledge and thank the administrative, technical, maintenance and security staff of Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi for their support in realising this production. 



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