‘The audience should take away their own morals from my play’

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Neel Chaudhuri
Neel Chaudhuri, 32, Theatre Director

You frequently collaborate with the Goethe Institut. As a playwright, how does this cultural exchange help?
Tadpole Repertory has been collaborating with the Max Mueller Bhavan for three years for the Theatre Festival of New German Writing. It is one of the most culturally supportive organisations and such transcultural exchanges are very enriching for our theatre. They commission a lot of independent art. This festival is designed to promote Indo-German exchange through theatre and we are actively involved in bringing elements of German literature and theatre to our audience.

How would you describe your work? Especially through a play like Still and Still Moving.
I try pushing boundaries with my writing. My interests originate from the socio-economic milieu that I am familiar with — stories from my experiences and observations. Most of my work is factual. For my last play, Still and Still Moving, the story came from what I felt while travelling from my college in North Delhi to my home in Gurgaon every day, and from the stories of people I know and the kind of people I know exist. It is the love story of two men living on different ends of the NCR — in North Delhi and in Gurgaon. The Delhi Metro plays a very important role.

What is the audience appeal?
Viewers appreciated the way my play portrays contemporary urban life. I think this is something that does not happen often in our theatre, especially in Delhi. I also consciously go for a minimalist approach. I am not politically driven, not that it is something wrong; I don’t write with preconceived dictums that I want to give the audience. I think a story makes its own morals; it has its own politics. I want the audience to take away their own morals from my plays.

Your latest play The Winter’s Tale is a brilliant adaptation, but why stage it in an outdoor location ?
The Winter’s Tale required the kind of scenery that we chose. The audience had to move around from place to place, following the characters. It’s called a promenade play. This crucial movement played an interesting role and I think the experiment worked out really well. Now we are working on an intriguing problem that arose from this experiment — what if we’re unable to show the play in the same location? How does the change in setting affect the play’s appeal and longevity?

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