Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings

The Water Station

Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya

Contemporary Indian theater probes Shogo Ohta’s world of silence

The Japanese director and playwright Shogo Ohta was renowned for his “silent theater,” which still attracts attention nearly a decade after his death in 2007. The plays are stripped of all dialogue and performed extremely slowly by the actors. From this spectacle emerges a portrait of primordial humanity divested of its sociality, presenting the viewer with a sense of eternity and the transcendental universe. Ohta’s work continues to appeal to a new generation of directors from Japan and overseas. Artistic director for the International Theatre Festival of Kerala, Sankar Venkateswaran is one of India’s most exciting young theater directors today.

In 2011, he first tackled Ohta’s most representative play, The Water Station. On stage there is only an isolated water faucet, a thin stream flowing from its spout. To this “water station” a range of people come and go. Against this highly minimalist setting, a cast of actors drawn from all over India’s diverse ethnic and linguistic groups lends Ohta’s masterpiece a meaning utterly different to previous stagings in Japan. This fresh response to Shogo Ohta from 21st-century India boldly explores the continued possibilities for silent theater.

Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya Sankar Venkateswaran / Theatre Roots & Wings, The Water Station, 2016, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza. Photo by Yuki Moriya
YEAR
2016 AUTUMN
DATES
11.12(Sat)-11.13(Sun)
VENUE
Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza
DURATION
110min.
CITY
Attappadi, Kerala, India
CATEGORY

Sankar Venkateswaran

Born in 1979, Venkateswaran graduated from Calicut University School of Drama & Fine Arts with a first rank in theatre direction (2002) and completed three year intensive training at the Theatre Training and Research Programme, Singapore (2006). In 2007 he founded Theatre Roots & Wings, based in Kerala, and directed six productions. Among them, he staged Shogo Ohta’s silent play The Water Station (2011), co-produced by The Japan Foundation, New Delhi, with an all-India cast. Apart from directing for Theatre Roots & Wings, he has been invited to direct plays outside, which include Bhasa’s Urubhangam (2009), premiered at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre in Nagano, Japan, and Neerina Niluthana for Marutirugata Repertory Company of Ninasam Theatre Institute, Karnataka. His latest production is Tage der Dunkelheit. (Days of Darkness) for Munich Volkstheater in 2016. He received International Ibsen Scholarship in 2012. He served as the artistic director for International Theatre Festival of Kerala (2015, 2016).

TextShogo Ohta
TranslationMari Boyd
DirectionSankar Venkateswaran
CastMoon Moon Singh, Ravindra Vijay S., Shaji Surendranadh, Venuri Perera, Anirudh Nair, Kavita Srinivasan, Yeshwanth Shivappa, Mandakini Goswami, Smitha P., Jayasurya Kumara Pillai, Sanandhan V. Sankaran, Anandsami, Chandra Ninasam, Gopalakrishnan K.
Assistant directorRajeev Vijayan
ProducerSatoko Tsurudome
Stage designTakuya Kamiike
Lighting designYasuhiro Fujiwara
SoundMitsunori Miyata
Stage managerMasaya Natsume
Stage manager assistantKyoka Arisawa
Stage design assistantKanako Takegoshi, Keika Taniguchi
Publicity designYujiro Sagami
Production coordinatorMiho Kawahara (Kyoto Performing Arts Center at Kyoto University of Art and Design)
Special Thanks toMitsuko Ohta, Setsuko Yamada (chief researcher of Kyoto Performing Arts Center at Kyoto University of Art and Design)
Supported bythe Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal 2016, In co-operation with the Japan Foundation, New Delhi, “LIFE”total staging production inc.
Presented byKyoto Experiment, Kyoto Performing Arts Center at Kyoto University of Art and Design