Kyoto Performing Arts Center at Kyoto University of the Arts / Kyoto Experiment is opening a free limited-time video streaming of The Water Station directed by Indian director Sankar Venkateswaran and staged at Kyoto Experiment 2016 AUTUMN. Due to the impact of coronavirus, it was Venkateswaran’s desire for the work to be streamed and made available to as many people as possible.
Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings The Water Station
Originally performed｜November 12-13th, 2016
Venue｜Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza
Streaming Period｜12:00 June 26th until 2:00 July 6th, 2020
A note on the occasion of screening of The Water Station
After thirty-five years since Shogo Ohta first premiered The Water Station, I had the opportunity to stage the piece in Kyoto, with an ensemble of performers from all around India and Sri Lanka.
Our version of The Water Station was different in many ways from the Tenkei Gekijo’s production. What was fundamentally different was the source of silence itself. The silence in Ohta’s production came from a shared history and language, where characters did not have to speak, they all have a common language and a collective experience of lived history. On the other hand, the silence in our South Asian context came out of the differences that we have, of caste, class, colour and culture. Our silence comes out of our inability to converse, we all came from very different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
In The Water Station, we see the plight of the human existance when societies are reduced to a species level of existence, where we are not individuals anymore, but mere biological specimens of the human species traversing a dark landscape surrounded by death.
This pandemic, the ongoing social unrests and the newly developing border conflicts together creates in me a feeling that we are on a long journey through the slope of a treacherous mountain ridge, that too in dim light. The Water Station shows us a way to tackle our challenges, to slow down to look around, behind and ahead so that we can see things more clearly even in the dim light.
The play is nearly two hours long, slow and silent. I recommend you find a quiet time and place, reduce the brightness of the screen and lower volume of the speakers, sink in with the pace of the piece, open your eyes, ears and heart to co-create the piece in your own imagination.