Trinetra Tiwari Interview
Trinetra Tiwari studied at Delhi University and Drama School Mumbai. He has co-directed a number of plays including ADRAK, ULAT BASI and CHARAN DAS CHOR. Recently, he wrote and directed RANGAAI, a play on bonded labour, presented by Manav Kaul. The interview covers his journey, the creation of RANGAAI and more.

 By Tarun Agarwal

So how did you begin your journey? Was it with writing?

Well, I started as an actor in Rajasthan by doing folk plays. Then I came to Drama School Mumbai to learn more of the skills that are required. I have been writing poems for a long time but in Drama School Mumbai we were required to write the pieces which we wanted to act. That is where the writing and directing skills were developed. It has been 6-7 years in Mumbai that I have been acting,writing, directing in plays.

I have done PEHLI SHAADI. It's a small piece I have written and performed on transgenders. I have co-directed ADRAK with Niketan Sharma and I have also written ULAT BASI and co-directed it with Hemant Pandey. Also, CHARAN DAS CHOR is a play that I did for Mukesh Chhabra's Khidkiyan Festival, which was also co-directed by Hemant Pandey. I was also part of ONE NIGHT ONLY by Akavarious, and a piece titled MRIDULA, which I have written and performed. Also did plays such as KRISHNA SANDHAN, ROMEO JULIET and folk theatre in Rajasthan.

Your play RANGAAI is about bonded laborers. How did you build this play?

I saw this play through the lenses of the absurd and the abstract. I took my time to develop the play. I had the opportunity to interact with the labourers who were hired to work for a contractor. The contractor left midway so I was made to get the tasks done. This exposed me to the life of labourers. . I'm from Nasirabad, near Ajmer where you find a lot of laborers who paint and build iron trailers. I also spent a lot of time with painters while getting our house done.

You wanted it to be an accessible play?

Yes, it should be accessible to everyone.

How long did you take to develop the play?

It took a long time as I was experimenting with it before we arrived at the final script. Initially, I thought I would tell the story through poetry but later changed the idea. I thought it should be a mix of things.I wanted to ensure that it should be absurd but easy to understand.

It's interesting to know that your real-life experiences helped you create this play. Do you think that some parts of the play also needed influence from real experiences?

Well, real experiences definitely helped me build parts of the play but I didn't see RANGAAI as just a realistic play. As I said, I also look at it through the lenses of absurdity. We are not talking about an entertaining story when it's about bonded laborers. So, the form of expressing myself was very important to me. So, I chose a mix of magical realism and abstract to highlight the satire.

How did you involve Manav Kaul and at what stage?

I have known dada for a long time. I had expressed my interest in making a play. Ajitesh Gupta, our creative director, was in constant touch with me. We would just be updating dada about the progress of the play because he was a little busy due to his prior commitments. He reviewed the play twice , a few days before it opened but despite that he gave us some great feedback and guidance.

How has theatre enriched your life and are you doing films etc.?

Theatre has definitely changed my life. And about films I've just started auditioning. It is a different process that I am surely interested in as well.

Any tips for people who want to do better at plays?

Be original. Honesty is the key. Keep working on your craft and keep experimenting.

(Tarun Agarwal is the author of Hope Factory: Business Ideas For Everyone, and has directed a short film, Honesty Weds Dishonesty)

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