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Pickle Factory presents
Season 2, 2019: Widening Circles
Nov 1 - 29, 2019 Kolkata
- Sohini Banerjee

October 28, 2019

Pickle Factory returns to the City of Joy - This time on a much grander scale!

Pickle Factory Season 1, 2018: Back to where it all started with a bang! A quick recap:

All thanks to Pickle Factory Season 1, the city of Kolkata got to experience a thought-provoking and diversified way of exploring the performance venue, the performer's body and the performance as a category itself. Pickle Factory had all the requisite expertise at their disposal to bag the title of 'game-changers' and successfully created a buzzworthy presence.

The Pickle Factory Team had a zany game plan which zeroed in on a mashup of curated exercises. The city stood witness to the Pickle Revolution which created a far-reaching impact and garnered an enthusiastic response from far and wide.

Pickle Factory Season 2, 2019: Widening Circles: What can you expect and what makes it a tour de force to absolutely look out for:

Pickle Factory Season Two will take you through the kaleidoscopic trails of a creative extravaganza which had its grand premiere in the first season. This season will pick up from where its predecessor had left off while shouting out to something Pickle Factory has always sworn by - prizing energy, inclusion, and diversity.

Wait to meet an eclectic medley of dancers, guests and performing artists from far across the globe - India, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, and Scotland. They will represent a wide range of performance genres and probe into the fundamentals of dance and movement while sustaining a very multidisciplinary and multicultural spirit.

Widening Circles in terms of reaching out to a diverse range of audiences and expanding the audience base: Can activism form the crux of performance ideas?
Continuing along the lines of inclusive outlooks, it becomes relevant then to introduce the Victoria-based artistic duo Niharika Senapati and Pippa Simaya. They "are interested in connecting to broader networks, to understand the local residency environment, especially in relation to feminist discourse, climate crisis, and colonisation". They are the inaugural recipients of the 2019 Australia India dance exchange program - a project developed by the Pickle Factory Dance Foundation in collaboration with Asialink Arts.

Both the artists will explore, archive and research Kolkata extensively to garner a detailed perspective of the local community and the context of Kolkata as the scene of action at large.
A joint statement published by artists regarding their body of work reads: "…We are interested in how we can create spaces for collaborative and non-linear ways of working. We seek to integrate rest practices and imagination into the residency and value the wellbeing of a person as a direct political choice to begin deconstructing irrelevant socio-political structures."

"Loose, Loosu, Looseness?" Let's put slut-shaming to shame.

The body becomes a charged site of "call and response" while embroiled in the vortex of anarchy and oppression, but the system must not be allowed to pull the plug on its freedom.

Maya Krishna Rao will explore this at length through her firebrand solo act "Loose Woman" at Gem Cinema on 6th November 2019.

The performance transforms into a crucial vehicle for mobilizing political awareness and women empowerment-- by universalizing a gendered narrative. She straddles three mediums- theatre, sound, and camera while exploring the fraught trajectory of a "Loose Woman". Donning the mutable persona of a "Loose Woman", Maya navigates different mundane episodes of life, albeit never at the cost of stifling her fiercely opinionated self. By sharing the tale of a #NotyourRegularSanskaariNaari, Maya shows how personal can be political as she boldly reclaims a oft-used misogynistic slur, "Loose woman". She further adds, "I make theatre, it is a legitimate way to vent anger on stage. It's about how to make art speak."

Performance: Loose Woman
Date: 6 November 2019
Venue: Gem Cinema, 6.45pm

Can there be a single definition for Performance Spaces? Imagining and implementing repurposed performance venues in various buildings in Kolkata.
The improvisational repurposing of different venues into vibrant and potent performance venues has been one of the X factors of Pickle Factory. This season will be all about upping their strong game by using a motley mélange of spaces. 'Ami Kolkata', a new-age museum housed within the recently renovated colonial edifice, Metcalfe Hall, is one of the venues where Pickle Factory will have its Dance and the City Weekend. Others include the upcycled Gem Cinema, intimate theatre spaces like Padatik Theatre and the newly emerged centres for supporting and presenting visual/performing arts, namely KCC and Janus Cultural Art.

Interestingly, the opening act of the season, 'Immersed', a Kathak solo by the leading dancer and choreographer in the classical dance form of Kathak, Aditi Mangaldas, will happen at the proscenium stage of a conventional space like GD Birla Sabhaghar. 'Immersed' will offer a glimpse into Mangaldas's interpretation of the idea, Krishna, the supreme divine figure, who has reigned over the cultural imagination and popular/standardized religious imagination for as long as one can remember.

Performance: 'Immersed' by Aditi Mangaldas
Date: 1 November 2019
Venue: GD Birla Sabhaghar, 6.45pm
Duration: 75 minutes

Workshop with Christophe Knoch and Sharvari Sastry: Repurposing the Spaces for the Arts.
Christophe Knoch from Berlin and Sharvari Sastry from Mumbai will start a critical conversation through their project. Their modus operandi will also require hunting for suitable spaces in Kolkata over the course of a five-day-long workshop, "Repurposing the Spaces for the Arts" followed by a two-day roundtable "Spaces for Change, Spaces for Roots" ( Part of the Dance and the City Weekend). Their work also happens to closely align itself with the raison d'être of Pickle Factory-Any space can revamp itself into a performance venue so that it can be conducive to productions travelling freely to people. We all know about the concept of "Art for art's sake". Pickle Factory, however, begs to differ. "Spaces for Change, Spaces for Roots", a two day conference, will involve participation from not only the artists' community but also from the field of architecture, local community, government, urban planning and development, business, real estate, law, etc. from within Calcutta, in dialogue with broader national and global perspectives. Art should remain tactile and temporal. Only by ensuring this, we can hope for a social transformation.

Workshop: Repurposing the Space for Arts.
Date: 10-16 November, 2019.

Roundtable: Spaces for Change, Spaces for Roots.
Date: 16 and 17 November, 2019.
Venue: Metcalfe Hall.

Sacred and Sacrilege. Sexy and Subversive. One thin line. Perils and Possibilities.

Urvi Vora's 'Society Against the Kamasutra and the Uncouth Men' (S.K.U.M.)', is a satirical, contemporary-dance-cum-stand-up-comedy-act performed by the museum object, 'Woman In Saree' and her copy of the Kamasutra. The performance will raise some essential ethical questions. The piece came into being as a response triggered by the ground swelling pervasiveness of the #Metoo movement. It presents a critical reading of Kamasutra directives through a feminist lens while making a strong case for female bodily autonomy. Vora also questions the normalization of slut-shaming while slaying the patriarchal storm troopers dressed as taboos and stigmas.

Performance: SKUM Manifesto
Date: 13 & 14 November, 2019.
Venue: Padatik Theatre
Time: 6.45 pm (60 minutes)

Des merarangrez ye babu, ghat-ghatyahanghat-ta jaadu:

Oversimplification of folk? Sorry, we don't offer that kind of service here.
This season will rediscover 'folk' elements in a relatively less explored light. The performance will draw upon critical interventions and quirky deconstructions which often get sidelined from common discoursess. Anurupa Roy's puppet theatre 'About Ram' intermingles the Bunraku puppet technique, animation, projection, and movement while giving a critical spin to Bhavabhuti Ramayana. Her body of work has always tried to emphasize that there is more to the Indian puppetry repertoire than just the Rajasthani Kathputli tradition popular among the mainstream audience. But the real catch is the title, "About Ram", in light of the current saffron terror as "Jai Shri Ram" chants have become a jingoist pop culture reference for the rising communal bloodbath.

Performance: About Ram
Date: 23 and 24 November 2019
Venue: TBA / Time: 6.45pm

Performer and Spectator: Together they make the sparks fly, together they paint the town red.
What about those times when the audience feels too uncomfortable to break the fourth wall and start a new dialogue? We might not want to address the elephant in the room, but the invisible contrivances of social conditioning encumber us in insidious ways. Do you often end up feeling too worked up while trying to decode a performance after the curtain fall? Have you felt compelled to concede that you lack the artistic 'high vision' thereon? Worry no more! Pickle Factory has got you covered.

After the performances of 'Immersed' by Aditi Mangaldas on 1st November 2019, 'Loose Woman' by Maya Krishna Rao on 6th November 2019 and 'Today' by Compagnie 7273 on 8th November 2019, the organizers at Pickle Factory will throw the house open for a series of tailor-made audience-performer interactions titled 'Critical Responses Discussions'. The expert facilitator Judy Harquail from Ontario, Canada, will supervise the sessions to help bridge the gap between the audience and the performer and create a democratic platform of inter-dependence. The guided conversations will also make the content more accessible and generate audience feedback. This will also ensure the development of discerning audiences who will be equipped to draw fruitful insights from the artwork they experience.

1 November 2019: Critical Responses Discussion (Post-Performance)
'Immersed' by Aditi Mangaldas
G.D. Birla Sabhagar, 6.45pm

6 November 2019: Critical Responses Discussion (Post-Performance)
'Loose Woman' by Maya Krishna Rao
Gem Cinema, 6.45pm

8 November 2019: Critical Responses Discussion (Post-Performance)
'Today' by Compagnie 7273
Gem Cinema, 6.45pm

The stage is set. The curtain rises. Pickle Factory is ready to begin again what it aces at- to take the city by storm with a flurry of incredible performances. Pickle Factory invites you all to hop on to this one-month long epic ride. The season will be your exclusive ticket to taste the signature twang, timber, and tart of a very exhilarating 'Pickle' madness, #TooLit to be put inside a jar.

Widening Circles: Pickle Factory Season 2 calendar

Season trailer

Pickle Factory Dance Foundation
+91 9830468110

Sohini Banerjee did her graduation and post graduation in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. Being associated with a discipline which has always fostered and nurtured a deep love and interest for engaging with multi-disciplinary fields of approaches, she found herself drawn to knowing more about the fundamental idioms, functioning principles and tactile language of articulation in the universe of performance.

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