The Arshinagar Project is hosting internationally acclaimed British performer, director and pedagogue John Britton next March and April for a series of workshops and performances in India.The tour includes two residential workshops open to both international and Indian participants.The first workshop will be a six day residential in the South of India focusing on Ensemble Physical Improvisation. We arrive March 11, the…See More
My artistic interests lie in exploring the interior world of the body. Specifically, I am strongly interested in the breath and the connection between breath and the self, and how breath relates to the aesthetic structure of the rasaas. I am guided by an urge to go back to the primal roots and sources of performance encoded in the individual's corporal memory and the shared unconscious of humanity, to explore theatre as something not limited to the auditorium but a shared, participatory ritual, a set of signifiers by which the individual transacted with the universe and with other individuals; and 'forwards' towards contemporary forms of articulation such as performance poetry and performance art, or work that questions and defies traditional genres, the meaning of 'performance' and 'performativity' itself, the body as inherited memory, as a personal as well as socio-political object, 'space' as a metaphor, the meaning of 'conflict' and the role of theatre in engaging with it, the ideas of 'sickness' and 'health' in their physical, mental as well as socio-economic sense, the usage of techniques such as video and installation and their merger with physicality and the exploration of selfhood.
In practical terms, I am working with the framework of the nine basic rasaas mentioned in the Natyashastra and ways of exploring and expressing them through the breath, through the voice, through movement, expression, glance and gesture, through the five senses, and through the integration of all these different aspects. Searching for an inner voice in Rig Vedic and Upanishadic chants, in techniques of breath and meditation; and finding characters or archetypes in the movement textures of Kalaripayattu also come within the ambit of this work.
I have a fundamental interest in the work of Jerzy Grotowski, and am trying to interpret Grotowski’s work through my own practice. Thus on the one hand I am interested in a pathway towards the craft of the performer, based on a spiritual foundation drawing upon the way of the Sufis, Buddhism and the Bauls, and employing a symbolic language based on Indian practices of movement, martial arts, ritual chanting, folk songs and dances, and on the other hand I am interested in transcending the duality of actor and spectator and looking at theatre as a kind of therapy or self-integration for the doer.