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All too REAL! - Director's Note
60 mins, 2004

In many ways ALL TOO REAL! is different from my other productions; normally I live with my work for a long time and go through a process, alone as well as with my actors, sometimes for more than a year before I actually move the act; mostly I put up a discourse and not a statement. This production is worked through a matter of four weeks which was also the time in which I developed the script out of a predetermined text.

The manner in which the original story "Who is the Thug looting the City" looks at and details the market economy culture and the nexus between the industry and politics is incredibly lucid and original. What makess it dear and challenging to the theatre-aesthetics is the dual mode of its working with 'archetypes' and the Rasa theory.

The challenge for me was to be faithful to the text (without any textual interpolations) raise up to the energies and curvatures of it, yet to locate spaces for my discourse and create and weave its imagery so as to retain the statement of the text yet liberate the performance to unleash questions/reflections. As always I drew from the wealth of my tradition to organise my syntax and idiom.

The mandalas, charis and hand-gestures from dance and games are planted through the narrative in the mode of a cabaret. Taking off from one suggestion about a rendering of 'a' bhajan in the original story, I have worked with the bhajan as a sound motif through the play to also define the 'characters' and 'acts' and water as a recurrent visual motif. Another sound motif laughter is woven in different contours to contrast the 'characters'. As I completed my first blocking I realised that once again I have worked within the grid of narration and transformation through lot of fluid spaces.

As always I had the luxury of working with wonderful actors to whom I am extremely grateful. I am truly grateful to Anita Ratnam for giving me this opportunity to create this work which I hugely enjoyed.

- Prasanna Ramaswamy