Vandana Bhushan Interview
Vandana Bhushan is a Mumbai based theatre performer, writer and director. She is the writer and actor of the play LOVE, MORE OR LESS directed by Errol Rodrigues. MANN KI BAAT a play co-written by her was selected and performed at DASTAK, the Hindi Theatre Festival at Singapore. LOVE, MORE OR LESS is a bold subject about a married couple exploring the tricky subject of honesty in their marriage.

 By Diiva Dhanoya

How did you choose the topic of your play?
Relationships and transformation of people in their respective relationships have always intrigued me, especially in the context of communication. I wanted to explore this theme intertwined with the essence of love and jealousy in my writing. That is how LOVE, MORE OR LESS happened.

Is the script influenced by real-life discussions?
The nuances of relationships observed at close quarters, points of views shared and quibbles experienced or witnessed have helped shape the work. The story as such is imagined.

How long did you take to develop the play?
It took me a year to research and come up with the first working draft of the play. After every show I end up adding new thoughts and ideas to the script. It is a work in progress as is the case with nature of relationships.

Can you share your research?
I referred to books by therapists, researched case studies of marital discord and differences, the history of marriage and have listened to different perspectives from people exploring the subject.

How did you find your co-actor?
I had worked with Errol earlier through the Rangshila Theatre Group and so I shared my script with him. I felt he was perfect for Arjun's part.

How did he receive your script as a director?
Our visions aligned and we had many discussions during the whole process of developing this play.

How has the overall response been so far?
Rangshila believed in my script and has been very critical in staging this play. A lot of feedback has come from the audience and friends, which helps me understand their perspective, further enhancing my script. Sometimes I have people walk up to me with the hope to get some answers and I'm like, my script is a story that I share with my audience and that's about it. I am glad to hear them out and it makes me happy that my play has ignited a discussion.

Do you get strong responses at times?
Yes, post the shows people have walked up to me and opened up about their moments of vulnerability and similar challenges faced in their relationships. Some have even shared as to what they found unacceptable about how my characters think and respond. It has been a humbling experience thus far.

Was the happy ending a conscious choice?
The ending came organically while writing. It is difficult to say happy or otherwise, honesty is indeed rewarded in the play, however the larger crisis still looms in their relationship. I think love is such a basic emotion and it is sad that we are unable to be candid about it at times.

Any tips for creative minds or writers?
I would say give time to your story, spend time honing your skills and push the envelope little by little each day.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently writing a children's play for Chakravyuh Performing Arts and working on a project, CLUB MONO which is a collage of pieces. I have written and directed one of the pieces and will be performing another. The show is slated to open towards the end of this month.

What other plays have you been part of?
I have performed in Rangshila's REFUND, STORY OF SPACE, THE SUN IN THE EAST, ISS DESH KA YAARON KYA KEHNA, Being Association's GITTU BITTU, Rangaai Theatre's UNTITLED and THE DARK ROOM.

How did you start your creative journey?
I started my creative journey as an actor with Rangshila while working as an investment banker. I would attend theatre workshops in the evening or during weekends. I fell in love with theatre and eventually quit my job to pursue acting and writing full time.

*Diiva Dhanoya is a Mumbai based writer, actor and voice artiste. She is the lead actress of the film Jacqueline Am Coming and is currently working on the translation of a book written by John Britton.

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