Research

EASTERN THEATRE
OUTDOOR THEATRE

EASTERN THEATRE

ACTOR’S DRAMATURGY
 

«I wanted to learn the language from the basis, from the alphabet, and from the most competent masters in the  world. One of the most notable historians of occidental dance, Arnold Haskell, defined Indian dance “the most  complete and expressive of all dance systems”. I always thought that this authoritative opinion and the reality to  which he so imperatively refers to are sufficient reasons to justify any activity with the aim of promoting its  knowledge.» Renzo Vescovi

TTB’S EXPERIENCE

After meeting the oriental masters invited by Eugenio Barba to the Atelier Internazionale del Teatro di Gruppo in Bergamo (1977),...

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  • TTB starts its research on Indian and Balinese dance-theatre, and afterwards with the Beijing Opera. Since 1978, actors from the Tascabile theatre go regularly to the East to specialize in various Indian disciplines,  specifically Bharata Natyam, Orissi, Kathakali e Kuchipudi. Contextually, in the last 40 years TTB had a remarkable role in promoting classic Indian theatre, organizing and promoting tours in Europe for great masters and dancers through the foundation of IXO - Istituto di Cultura Scenica Orientale.
    For TTB the relationship with India is the logical development of its need for scientific knowledge, for technical-practical acquisition, for a logical solution to the problem of the theoretical and formal basis of its work. The eastern example was recommended since the beginning of the 20th century by the great theatre masters as a way of  complete renewal and as a new art. Through Indian dance TTB created what Renzo Vescovi called “the lyrical actor” and “the nameless actor”.
    TTB meeting India was fundamental from the point of view of exploring a new branch of theatrical knowledge and also for creating a new mental horizon, made of shared memories, technical terms,  knowledge, affection, ideals and values, as it’s documented on the working diaries of its director Renzo Vescovi and its actors.
    Related Topics: Group / Masters / Work Methodology / East-West

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

In time TTB became a credited theatre for its specialization in Indian dance, both in India and in the West.
Its activities...

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  • about oriental scenic culture (plays, festivals, courses and special projects with national and international institutions) are credited by numerous university thesis, about ten shows for RAI and Swiss TV, various publications, interviews on Indian newspapers and magazines and the Appendix 2000 on the Italian Encyclopedia (Treccani): entry Theatre, sub v. “Eurasian” theatre, pages 815-817 «[...] and especially the group of actors and actresses that, under R. Vescovi’s direction, gather in the Accademia delle forme sceniche in Bergamo, where in a continuous exchange  between India and Europe, the classical forms of Orissi, Bharata Natyam and Kathakali have been cultivated for some time now. They’re not imitative artists or exotic genres amateurs, they’re real accepted and appreciated masters both in Europe and India. »

    «Italian born to Indian dance» (1989);
    «Their presentation could be an inspiration even for Indian dancers, [...] a  communion with sublime» cfr. Stile Orissi in "Times of India", 1992;
    «[...] all was superb» with the title "Superbly  enacted" cfr. Stile Kathakali in "Indian Express", 1990;
    «They master dance Kathakali to the point they’re recognized specialists even in India E. BARBA “La canoa di carta”, Bologna, 1993
    Related Topics: East-West

STYLES

Indian dance shows, demonstration shows and laboratories offered by TTB belong to the three disciplines practiced by the...

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  • Group.

    KATHAKALI: native to Kerala, the green south-west Indian region, Kathakali in its actual form dates back to the second half of the XVII century. Since the second half of the 19th century and through the first decades of the 20th century, Kathakali fell into the general decay that affected Indian culture under the British Empire. After the independence, Kathakali came back to its ancient glory with an always growing vitality and popularity. Kathakali’s fame, a real myth to the western scenic practice, essentially consists of its technical rigor and its actors’ legendary preparation.

    ORISSI: Orissi dance owes its name to the Orissa state in north-east India and has ancient origins. In the tradition it was a  cultural practice allowed only to some priestesses, mahari, performed in the daily bhara singar ceremony. At the end of the 1950s, four of the most respected gurus in Orissa set the very rich tradition’s vocabulary. As every classical Indian dance, Orissa is now essentially an artistic fact, but still maintains it religious imprint.

    BHARATA NATYAM: is the par excellence classic Indian dance. It was once performed in temples by sacred dancers, devadasi, who were raised and taught in art and music for this sole purpose. This love lyric fell into disfavor because of the Victorian censorship during the British domination, and was brought back to its cultural and artistic reputation only in modern times.
    Related Topics: East-West

MASTERS AND TECHNIQUES

KALAMANDALAM M.K. JOHN, Kathakali style
He graduated from the Kerala Kalamandalam in Cheruthuruthy, the...

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  • most important school for this classic style and is currently manager of the Kalatharamgini Centre for Performing Arts and Culture. Pupil of the famous gurus C. Padamanabhan Nair and Vijaya Kumar, Kalamandalam K.M. John presented his shows in India and abroad during various tours since 1981. In collaboration with TTB he managed the European tours of Kerala Kathakali Troupe (1991), Kerala Kathakali Sangam (1992) and Kalatharamgini Troupe, with the best masters of this dance.

    ALOKA PANIKAR, Orissi style
    She comes from a well known Bengalese family of movie and theatre artists. She was taught to dance by the great master of Kathakali Guru Gopinath, she soon found out that her delicate appearance and seductive personality  were perfect for the Orissi dance. She was then the favorite pupil of notable Guru Maya Dhar Raut, known as one of the four refounders of the Orissi dance. Aloka Panikar, for the perfection of her style and the pathos of her performances, was considered one of the best interpreters of the classical Orissi dance. She currently works in  Delhi, where she opened a dance school.

    USHA RAGHAVAN, Bharata Natyam style
    Disciple of the famous guru guru Sri Adyar Laksmann, Smt. Usha Raghavan is one of the best interpreters of  Madras (Chennai) Bharata Natyam classical tradition. Usha toured abroad many times, in Asia and Europe, where she was sent by Unesco. International critics pointed out her skills with unanimous appreciation. Above all we can quote the review that appeared in many newspapers in Paris about this “delightful representative” of del Bharata Natyam: «Her style is so pure and clear that you don’t need much effort to understand the meaning of this art [...]. She’s one of the best and most beautiful Indian dancers ever seen in France». She currently works and lives in London where she founded the Kalasagara U.K. school.
    Related Topics: Masters / East-West

RECENT ACTIVITIES

Alongside the historical activities of the IXO - Istituto di Cultura Scenica Orientale, TTB continues its research with study...

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  • travels of its members in India (Delhi e Kerala, 2011 e 2012). In 2011 we produced a new Kathakali show called “Il dono di Arjuna”. In 2011 and 2012 we organized a series of meetings, seminars and shows for the festival “Il teatro vivo” at the presence of field scholars and of the dancers Praveen Kumar (Bharata Natyam) e Madhu Natraj
    (Kathak), winners of the prestigious Mohan Khokar Award.
    Related Topics: Masters / East-West

«Still now Nature seems to find out that the old way is the most creative one. It gives results through the exact same methods used millions of years ago. Its mountains, flowers, moons and men are probably very different from what they used to be, but nature didn’t use any new method to create them. »
E. G. CRAIG