Grant Period: Over four months
This second grant to Badungduppa Kalakendra will support the next edition of the Under the Sal Tree (UST) project, enabling young theatre directors from Assam to further their creative explorations and develop new performance work. Badungduppa Kalakendra received an IFA grant in 2011 to enable four young theatre directors in Assam to create performance work based on critically examining the ‘Self’ in the context of growing concerns about prevailing uncertainty and the politics of survival in Assam. The current grant will enable directors to address the issues of identity in the state through a study of the region’s environmental history. Sukracharjya Rabha, chief coordinator, UST, explained how written histories of the region and its ethnic communities from the colonial period have been responsible for delineating certain geographical borders that have become lines of contention between various ethnic groups, today.
The project will be modified slightly based on the learnings from UST 2011. Along with three directors from the last year, the project will accommodate three assistant directors this time around. The directors will get a chance to consolidate their work and emerge as independent practitioners, while the assistant directors will graduate into senior directors with the opportunity of working with a new batch of assistants next year. An introductory workshop will enable them to engage in discussions with historians, Jyotindranath Borgohain and Nilutpal Baruah. This will be followed by an intensive workshop with two theatre facilitators — Anish Victor (Bangalore) and Mrinal Bora (Assam). These workshops will facilitate the sharing of ideas and actor-training techniques. Subsequently, the directors will return to their respective work places and begin developing their individual pieces. All the performances will be showcased at the UST 2013 festival in February at Rampur.
The project will have an in-built dissemination plan. Following the festival, the performances will tour to each director’s work place. Besides strengthening an artists’ network in Assam, this participative model is expected to build new audiences and augment the involvement of local communities in creating a supportive environment for such work. IFA believes that by extending support to this project for a second time, continued impetus to contemporary performance in Assam will go on, unhindered.