Dipti Bramhandkar Interview
Juggerknot Theatre Company and Popup Theatrics present intimate ten-minute theatrical encounters where they take audience members on a virtual trip across the globe. From the comfort of their homes, in real-time, 18 theatre artistes from six cities around the world - Mumbai, Portland, Mexico City, Lagos, Beirut, and Los Angeles- have come together to create this virtual adventure.In a conversation with the playwright, from Mumbai, Dipti Bramhandkar, who talks about her inspiration, concept, and experience in creating this 10-minute virtual play.

 By Parul Rana

Describing the nature and concept of the play, Dipti shares, "Without kind of revealing too much about what happens, what I am trying to explore in the piece is the need for connection and especially how we are using technology today, to help us stay connected. That was happening before the pandemic but now there is the reliance on technology and a desire to make it an integral part of our lives. What is unique about the play, is that it is a very intimate interaction, we have to reach through the screen and be in a conversation with the audience versus a group of larger audiences where the audience is watching and you can’t see it. So it feels much more personal and intimate in a way that it is set up, which is interesting given the limitation of the fact that we are using Zoom."

Speaking about the restricting time limit and virtual medium, she says, "Because the project has six cities, the experience is longer than ten minutes. As a playwright, I feel like when you only have 10 minutes, you really have to get to the heart of what you are writing about very quickly. So it is a challenge but a fun one. You have to just get to the essence, you don’t have the time or space to add a lot more explanation to it. Rather than looking at the limitations of online work, I like to see the many advantages that technology presents to us as we create work that is reflective of this historic time. Embracing all the amazing uncertainty of 'live' performances is still true in the online world. How we can create surprise and spontaneity on the screen is a wonderful challenge as a writer."

Talking about the inspiration behind her idea "As a part of our development process we are encouraged to interview the actors we work with. My wonderful actor Neha Singh is a musician, she talked about how music and playing it with others creates a sense of unity and family at the time when there is isolation happening. So that was one part of it, the other bit was the fact that, instead of pretending that we are not using technology to create the play, I really lean into the fact that the screen and technology is a part of the overall experience instead of just ignoring it. The third part of it is really my experience in the pandemic specifically that people are looking for comfort and reassurance and in any forum that makes sense to them. These three things came together and served as a potential inspiration."

We should take comfort in listening to and sharing our stories. The more we listen and share our stories, the more we feel connected to others even if it is the technology that is helping us enable that, is the message Dipti hopes to convey through the play.

*Parul Rana is a theatre enthusiast and movie buff.

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