Artists Profiles

Manaswini Lata Ravindra - artist details :

Manaswini Lata Ravindra

Manaswini Lata Ravindra Manaswini Lata Ravindra is a young theatre person who was recently invited by the Royal Court Theatre in London to participate in a workshop for young playwrights. Owing to her parents’ involvement with some of the key social activist movements in India (for 10 years Manaswini’s mother helped Medha Patkar with the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’; her father has worked in the area of prevention of female foeticide), Manaswini was able to interact with many intellectuals who influenced her deeply.

From an early age she liked reading novels, short stories and poetry. After completing her HSC, she sought admission for a B.A. programme in Theatre Arts at the Lalit Kala Kendra of Pune University. This programme got her much closer to theatre and widened her horizon. Until that time Manaswini had felt that the only way to help and change society is to engage with social service. Theatre she realized was an entertaining, engaging and a challenging medium to raise social issues. The more involved she got with the theatre, the more it satisfed her creative instincts.

The programme helped her interact with prominent and experienced theatre people like Satish Alekar, Rajeev Naik, Praveen Bhole, Jabbar Patel and Vijay Kenkre. A relaxed atmosphere enriched her experience further. During her time there, Manaswini directed two productions- Vijay Tendulkar’s BABY (which was her final year production) and Rajeev Naik’s MITALI PAPANI (which was an in-house production). She also acted in plays and took care of costumes. But what she enjoyed most then was theatre lighting.

She got to playwriting on her own but was greatly helped by her colleagues and professors who offered their insights. After graduating from the Lalit Kala Kendra, she came to Mumbai. She typically struggled as an assistant director and actor but soon found that ground realities were very different. Her campus world had given way to the harsh reality of sustaining theatre in a place where to even find a rehearsal space was a monumental task. Naturally she felt frustrated for a while. Then CIGARETTES, her first full-length play happened. A senior friend had asked her to write a play.

The play has completed 25 shows and has been well-received. It explores the dilemmas and questions faced by Manaswini and her generation. The play helped Manaswini realize that she enjoyed writing. Moreover its success gave her the confidence that she could write a play. She then worked with theatre veteran, Satyadev Dubey for six months as an assistant writer. Working with him exposed her to a training that was quite different from the one she had received. It proved to be an inspiring experience. Manaswini considers writing to be a painful process wherein the writer has to dig deep for his/her emotions before analysing them. But afterwards she says, you feel quite healthy!

In April 2006 she took part in ‘Writer’s Block’- a ten-day residential workshop held at Vashind near Mumbai. The workshop was organized by the Mumbai based theatre company, ‘Rage’ in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre. Later this workshop enabled her to travel to London for the Royal Court International Residency for emerging playwrights. This month long workshop helped her understand the finer aspects of scripting a play.

Currently Manaswini is working on a new play which is tentatively titled UNTIL OR UNLESS. She along with Satish Manwar, Chinmay Kelkar and others is one of the founder members of a young theatre group called ‘Lalit Mumbai’ which was established in 2004. Recently she designed the lights for ‘Lalit-Mumbai’s’ production of Tennesse William’s THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

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