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Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research, Puducherry, in India is a performance company engaged in the research and reanimation of traditional knowledge in theatre, dance, music, movement and craft forms — with a view to creating a contemporary hybrid aesthetic and performance language. In this regard Adishakti is in constant dialogue with other arts and genres.
Additionally Adishakti’s work and experiments cover those areas, which elliptically involve the performer and her environment —medicine, architecture/construction technologies, and the eco system. For Adishakti is driven, quite simply, by its apprehension of art/aesthetic practice as a unique bridge not only between diverse performance forms, traditions and knowledge systems but also in fact between a range of diverse realms, which are not normally, or visibly, in communication with each other.
Adishakti therefore sees itself as a unique and potentially seminal site (of transition, passage, cultural traffic) committed to the cause of cultural and creative alterity. And, as such, it recognizes and addresses complex modes of communication while preserving the “difference” of the speakers/partners in any given creative interchange.
A brief history of Adishakti
Adishakti was created in 1981 as a theatre company in Mumbai. Its main activity then was to create performances, which were already scripted. Some of these performances were Sophocles’ Oedipus, (1981) Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, (1983) Euripedes’ Trojan Women (1984).
In 1983 Adishakti started to include research as a part of its activities. This emerged out of its need to create a new language for contemporary performance, which would reflect a pluralistic aesthetic. The initial areas of such research were certain traditional Indian Knowledges contained in forms like Koodiyattam, Dhrupad singing, Kalaripayattu, Asanas, Pranayama, Samavedic Chanting married to voice training and other performance techniques from the West; viz; Eugenio Barba’s Odin Theatre in Holstebro Denmark and the Royal Shakespeare Company, UK.
From 1990 onwards Adishakti started creating its own texts. Thus A Greater Dawn (1992), Impressions of Bhima (1994), Khandava Prastha (1996), Brhannala (1998), Ganapati (2000), The Hare and The Tortoise (2007), Rhinoceros (2008), Nidrawathwam (2011), The Hanuman Ramayana (2011), The Tenth Head (2013). Each of these were interpretations of given traditional texts and reflected an aesthetic, which sought to build bridges between disparate ways of viewing particular themes.
All of these works have toured India and a few internationally.
(Read more about Adishakti’s History)