Adrija Dasgupta: Acting is a personal process in collaboration with director

Posted by Kaahon Desk On June 1, 2018

Having come to Kolkata from Durgapur, Adrija Dasgupta has studied theatre at Rabindra Bharati University and National School of Drama, New Delhi. Creative director of Uhinee Kolkata, a group that has been doing theatre for over a decade, Adrija is a quintessential group theatre worker, believing in doing theatre as a group activity. As a theatre worker, she has very definite and clear political views which she tries to express through her works. As a group, what makes Uhinee stand out in comparison to other Kolkata-based groups is that they frequently conduct workshops and perform their plays in small towns and villages in West Bengal. Some of the well-known and acclaimed projects of Uhinee include Antigone, Muktodhara, Ananta Keya Bikel, Falguni, Beje Othey Panchom Swarey etc.

Adrija Dasgupta: Acting is a personal process in collaboration with director

Adrija Dasgupta clearly states that she does not consider the category of ‘women directors’ valid. She does not believe that there is anything that can be considered a woman’s perspective. She says as group-theatre workers they have more pressing problems to attend to – such as members leaving the group – than think of women’s perspective. Moving to the topic of her being considered a ‘teacher’ of theatre, Adrija vehemently contests the idea. She speaks about her coming from Durgapur, her hometown, to do theatre in Kolkata and about how she feels that the world of Kolkata theatre has not really accepted her. She says that by calling her a teacher, people try to deflect from the fact that she is fundamentally a proficient theatre person. Their group, Uhinee, she says is unique in this that there are many in the group who have remained members for over a decade. While she does not consider herself to be teacher of those who are not doing theatre with Uhinee, she is ready to become a teacher to those who do theatre with her. The video ends with Adrija saying how in their group, even though the members might have different opinions about various issues, they are all on the same page when it comes to important socio-political ones.

Adrija Dasgupta says it becomes easier to garner government grants if one has an NSD background.She says she believes that acting is not something that can be taught; she briefly touches upon the process through which she collaborates with the actors in Uhinee to create their plays. Next she speaks about their production, Antigone that started with Jean Anouilh’s text and then moved on to Sisir Kumar Das’s text. Adrija does not believe that theatre as a medium can be commercially profitable; she insists that the grant-funded theatre she does is never designed to make profits. She speaks about how they perform at various places against very frugal arrangements of food and shelter. However, she points out that rehearsals and practice sessions remain extremely important at Uhinee. She ends by saying that the most painful experience for the group is when someone leaves the group.

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