​By Vidya Iyengar, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Oct 13, 2016, 04.00 AM IST

In this production, stories from the audience will be painted and performed on the spot Give them a story and they will paint and perform it – on the spot. A new concept, where theatre and art merge together, the initiative – Dissolve – will transform stories from the audience into works of art, as the group puts together a performance as well, complete with a background score.

Curated by Ranji David, the trigger for Dissolve lies in his personal journey with art. Two years ago, when he was working on directing plays on the lives of five famous Indian painters, he wanted to start painting himself, and in the process joined CKP to study the subject. “After I joined the course I began to sketch and paint almost every day till it became an addiction where I would be doing it the entire day,” says David, who will also be exhibiting his solo works this week. At the same time, early this year, he was invited to conduct a theatre workshop on change in Serbia where there were six trainers from different countries. “As part of the festival of Theatre for Change, there was lab work on using paint and performance , which gave me an idea about the concept, which I worked upon. That is what inspired me to come back to India and start painting and performance as a style of theatre,” he says.

Once he had finalised the concept, David chose playback theatre (a form of improvisational theatre where the audience tells stories which are then enacted by the actors on the spot), which is his area of expertise, to combine with painting. For this, he began looking for specific theatre practitioners with an inclination towards art. After choosing six actors for the production, he began conducting painting classes for three months during which the actors were taken through various styles of painting such as impressionism, expressionism, dadaism, fauvism and surrealism. “As a trainer or facilitator, I felt the work the actors responded best was to expressionism and in particular, action painting (a style of painting where you use an action to create a painting),” he says, adding, “The focus was on quick impromptu action painting where the actors could focus more on their intuition and instincts. We worked on the choice of colours and strokes, converting stories from a group of members into paintings as a team, which is aesthetically appealing.”

This project, David says, required “brilliant actors” who could also paint. And it has been a challenge. “Choosing the right actors who are also intuitive was one of the toughest parts of the process. They had to let go of their internal biases, be prepared for new situation and take risks. It’s something that we are struggling with even now,” he says.

At Rangasthala, MG Road, 6pm, on October 16.

Smear’ campaign colours stage arty DECCAN CHRONICLE. PublishedSep 22, 2016, 12:00 am IST

This unique theatre form not only invites the audience to share stories, but goes a step further to paint and perform the concepts narrated. Theatre has always been seen as one of the greatest artforms. To rekindle and bring back the charm of theatre, a unique technique of playback theatre has been conceptualised by Organizational Theatre. The theatre performance by six actors, involves improvisation of all art forms — music, acting and art! In a candid interview, the facilitator, Ranji David, tells us more…

Dissolve, a unique form of social improv theatre, takes stories from members of the audience, which will be performed and painted, impromptu by the actors! “Merging playback theatre and spontaneous painting has never been done in India before,” says Ranji David, the man behind the concept. “The performers will be wearing white clothes and performing on a white canvas,” he goes on to explain about the L shaped stage. The idea, he says is strong because “there is no better script than a personal experience or anecdote. It gives rampant opportunity for people who want to share experiences and connect with others based on similar experiences shared.” The evening will be divided into the parts – Charcoal, Paint and Rangoli, using the same to depict stories and emotions of the audience. Also doubling as a painter, Ranji has conducted a series of workshops all around the world, and the idea came to him at a workshop in Serbia. “I love painting and have been doing it for a long time now, and decided to combine the two as it has never been done in India before,” he says. Also a TEDx speaker, Ranji feels that acting out instances, will help make a difference to the restless and commotion, people experience in the city. And apart from the imagery of monochrome to colours, music too is going to be impromptu!

“The live music and lights will be different at every moment and flow with the pace of the actors paintings. The momentum, and theme of music will differ and be created right at that spot,” says Ranji, who has had 16 years of theatre experience so far and conducted similar workshops involving painting and theatre, in Serbia. To give a little more context to the upcoming show, Almas Kotadia, one of the actors says, “Acting out situations on the spot requires a ton of experience and also the ability to think on your feet.” The actors of the performance have been specifically chosen based on their painting abilities. “We started off right from the basics – with sketching, drawing lines and circles and then finally moving to body paint,” confirms the artiste before clarifying, “We don’t want the paint to splash and splutter on stage. The paintings are meant to connote various things which resonate with the audience.”

Doesn’t sound like an easy job! But what can people take back from the show, we ask Almas. “It will be beautiful to watch painting instances and stories while acting them out and being drenched in the stories of the audience. And they should most definitely look forward to the catharsis,” she sighs in conclusion.


By Liveinstyle 01 Mar, 2016
Quitting the corporate world to follow your passion is often equated with a gamble. But play it smart and it doesn’t have to be, says Ranji David.
The corporate life
Ranji David didn’t just step into the corporate sector and go rushing out because it wasn’t for him. He spent 15 years as a trainer in a top corporate and genuinely enjoyed engaging with people. “Still, even if you aren’t glued to a computer the whole day like, say, a techie might, you’re still spending a lot of time in front of a system. It’s an organisation with a fixed structure and there are limits to what you can do, especially creatively,” Ranji David says. That’s what drove him to give up his job three years ago and pursue his true passion: theatre.

First love
Even as he was working in the corporate world, Ranji David kept his love for theatre alive. Like his corporate career, it was nurtured over a decade and a half. During this time, Ranji David not only indulged his passion he also went about strategizing and planning to make his career switch work. “My belief is that it’s not just a good idea to dive in blindly,” he says. “If you lay the foundation and work out how you are going to make your passion pay, then there’s a greater chance that you can sustain it,” says this theatre person, who now makes more than he did on his corporate job. He now offers training for corporates focusing on theatre-based interventions, conducts theatre-in-education projects, stages theatre productions and collaborates with global artistes.

What a high
“The thing that strikes you most about quitting the straight-and-narrow and following your dreams and your passions on your own terms is how truly liberating it can be,” says Ranji David. “In a regular job there are restrictions to how far you can stretch you creativity, but when you’re on your own there’s so much more to explore and experience.” Some of Ranji David’s biggest thrills come from meeting and collaborating with theatre people across the globe. “The Handlebards, the cycling Shakespeare troupe, were a real find and I’ve been able to get them to tour India,” he says.

All the world’s a stage
Ranji David says he has a radical approach to Shakespeare, certainly his favourite playwright. His explorations include an adaptation of Hamlet especially for children, Macbeth, dwelling on corporate politics, Romeo and Juliet for young couples, Othello for married couples and King Lear for senior citizens. Yes, he believes all the world’s a stage and if your role is crafted with passion then life can be a rewarding show.