So far I have been, like the title, an observer for the first two theatre jams, and must say that despite my nervous apprehensions, have been pleasantly surprised by the response. Which obviously means that we're on to something here!
Moving on to specifics, I thought the first one was kind of intense, and yet a nervous entry, which was natural I suppose, because it was the first time this was happening. I think we all got a bit carried away by the "this is happening right now" of it, that we focused on the performances, and there was very little discussions.
The second one had definitely more balance between the theatre and the jamming :)
These are some of the thoughts roaming inside my head when we talk/think about the event:
1) We should somehow get Kannada speaking performers/audiences to be a part of it. Come to think of it, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and all other languages also will be great.
2) What happens when the day comes when there are too many performances lined up? Who decides what theatre gets a chance and what gets left out? Questions of censorship..
3) It is free but not actually, because there are food costs, and certainly some coordinating costs, and hopefully we'll be able to sustain it in some way
4) There are some interesting discussions on what constitutes a performance? Is it a reading, or a song? or perhaps the question is what is theatre then? Both the form and the time question are being challenged subconsciously at this event, and we wait eagerly for more such challenges in hopes of finding some answers
5) It would be great to have more musicians coming in to collaborate with the performers. Gopal from Guruskool did a spontaneous jam with Deepak's performance last time, and I hope this spurs on to more collaborations
6) I wish there was some way of keeping alive or documenting some discussions which take place at the event. Last jam had some really good ones about the Engish language, and the ghost of shakespeare still haunting us, and our approach to his work. There are also some really neat technical performance specific points which are being discussed, which may be useful to practitioners...we shoud think about keeping those some place/space accessible and distributable
7) From a purely selfish point of view, I'm itching to see the day when we get to see some forum theatre...been waiting to be a part of one..since i've heard so much about it
8) The most interesting part has been the intersection of the place and the space. While the theatre jam is a mental construct, a hopeful project about some of our dreams of collaborations and open spaces, I think the actual farm house place also plays a part. I some how want to figure out how much of a role the actual place plays in this event. Would the audience and performers see Theatre jam as an event in Nelamangala, or does the place not matter? This is of huge interest to me
9) It would be good to get some of the more conventional and heard practitioners to enter the space and engage with the Theatre Jam crowd...like folks at Ranga Shankara, and proscenium theatre groups, of which there are many in Bangalore
10) It will be good to dovetail this event into other debates we've been having at Maraa, concerning nature and approach to development, issues, public spaces, sexuality etc. Theatre has a long history (her-story) of being a people's medium/space..and be good to revive some of those stories, and see how we can rewrite some of those stories for the contemporary!
Now that I've come up with at least ten things to say, I will end the diatribe, with a final point of how good this whole thing has been to engage with, to the point that one day, I hope to cross the line from being a lurking observer to a performer!