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Theatre World

In the drama of molecules &

mudcrabs …

 …is actor Ramanjit, doing her

own stuff in Theatre Of Science

 Nonika SIngh

Two decades back, she was a naive16, stepping under the arc lights in Neelam Mansingh Chowdhary's play Heth Wage Darya. Today, City's own but now Kolkata based actor Ramanjit Kaur tells us of her Creative Arts Group's latest project Theatre In Science & throws big words like 'bio­medics, Indian mud crab whose molecules are used in AIDS research. And we realise that she, winner of Sangeet Natak Akademi Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for Theatre & Charles Wallace scholarship, has come of age as a theatre-person in her own right. Yes, even now, she'd like to be known as Neelam's prodigy, her actor: Indeed she is very much an integral part of her mentor's productions & is here to rehearse for Nagmandla which Neelam takes to Japan early next month. 

But back in Kolkata, the lady is finding feet, voice & idiom, .. Hmm ... can she escape Neelam's dominant signature….’ does she consciously fight her influence? "My work is different, for one, my genre is not the same. I am doing site-specific productions. But yes when it comes to visual language, you could sense an uncanny resemblance". Another similarity with her guru is the urge to chart unexplored waters. Take her new preoccupation - theatre in science. As you wonder of the common ground between theatre & science, she explains: "Actually Theatre of Science is a unique collaboration that began at Theatre Royal Plymouth in UK and involved leading British playwrights & eminent bio­medical scientists. The purpose is to enhance awareness & provoke debate surrounding the ethics & practice in biomedical science". Their group was one of the two so selected from India. They have (for their production) zeroed in on the sensitive issue of AIDS. Thus Raman, so named by fond father after the noted scientist CV Raman but had little to do with science these years, is researching bio medics of AIDS. She agrees that whipping up a production, that’d entertain & inform too, is no cakewalk. In fact, making it on her own in the City of Joy too has been rather arduous. She confesses: ''It's never easy for an outsider: And in Kolkata where theatre groups are by the hundreds, it was doubly tough to find my space". But she felt a vacuum in theatre training. Thus in 2002 Creative Arts was formed with one of its purposes being - to imbibe formal systematic training. So you say the obvious - is she herself trained? Sure she doesn't have a degree per se. But being with Neelam has been as good as enrolling in an institute. Then she's had, the golden opportunity to train under the bigwigs ­ from Ariane Mnouchkine in France to Firenza Guidi in Italy to Clive Barker and Tess De Quince - of international theatre. Today, she believes, training is most essential, for, "theatre has its own science, discipline. You can't create a play over a cup of coffee". But in unusual places, she sure can. Just as she did in Job Charnock Coming to Dinner?' at Swabhoomi, a Delhi Haat like place in Kolkata, to capture the spirit of Kolkata ' and The Merry Go Round - parts I and II wherein audiences were on stage & actors in auditorium. No wonder she says, "I am not so interested in proscenium". However what she's keen on now is cinema. Neelam's shisya and not seeking new horizons! Impossible ... which by the way is unlikely to figure in this actor's Science Of Theatre too.




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