Germany – das Land der Dichter und Denker- the land of poets and thinkers, boasts of an enriched cultural scene apart from its known intellectual successes. Amidst that cultural scene, theatre occupies a much cherished position, not only state and municipal sponsored theatre but also various forms of independent theatre, touring groups, improvisational and puppet theatres. India is no stranger to the art of thespians with its myriad theatrical traditions spread across the length and breadth of the subcontinent as well as spanning centuries. Hence avid interest about new alternative forms of theatre is aplenty even amongst the students of one of India’s premier b-schools, IIM Bangalore. This August, IIMB Dramatics organised an international theatre workshop conducted by the Flinn Theatre Group, many of whom are residents of Berlin’s Neuköln district, which is an emerging hub of alternative art forms in Europe.
The Flinn Theatre group’s workshop with the students of IIM Bangalore was all in all a 12 day experience. Through the course of the workshop, the participants were taught to work with their alternate senses through alternate mediums other than sight, and explore and sense the environment around them. Exercises of body memory, touch, observation and silence were attempted by the participants. A game of consciousness, “Zip”, was something that the group played with the highest levels of enthusiasm. A series of Voice training exercises were practiced in every session. The workshop also encouraged the students to think of ways of portraying their emotions like success and failure, the life at IIMB through a loosely set framework that stretched everyone’s imaginations. The medium was highly interactive and in the course of time, the group essentially designed their own script out of their individual acts. With an underlying theme of, ‘Utopian capitalism’, the group dealt with a utopian product of their choice/imagination and presented it as an elevator pitch. From a GM Apple that can get rid of hunger to, ‘a weather importer’, the ideas were aplenty. The entire experience was a group effort of approximately two and a half hours a day. For most, this was a much needed reprieve from the daily grind of the life at business school. The final show, on the eve of Independence Day, was a culmination of each of these individual exercises, conceived entirely by the students and fine-tuned by the members of Flinn. The performance was well received by the audience who were amazed at the coordination and energy amongst the group members. It was a great learning experience for the participants and very much in line with the traditions at IIM Bangalore, where overall individual development is not only preached but also practiced.