Celebrating 100 Shows of Koogu
The Koogu journey has been filled with surprises that took us to various places and made us meet some amazing people.
At the completion of over a 100 shows we would like to thank every audience member and every space which was part of this journey.
Koogu_ not-so-random thoughts
One of the most oft questions that I face from people is ‘how did it go?’ And I am increasingly finding myself in a place where I cannot tell. I wonder what is this a symptom of. Too many shows, lack of a basic intelligence, or old age – I suspect it is a combination of all and perhaps more.
After a performance the only thing I feel is ‘alright – it is done’. Don’t misunderstand me it is not that I wanted to get it over with… it is more like a step in a long, arduous and spectacular journey. And I find myself almost immediately preparing for the next step.
A feedback that has consistently grown with the number of performances is about feeling ‘love’. In all my experience as a performer and otherwise – it is an audience feedback that I have never really come across. Love, to me, is an interesting experience – because so much has been written, sung and performed on the subject – it has almost become an intellectual experience. Koogu seems to be, more often than before, providing a space for members of audience to actually feel ‘love’. That is fascinating.
A 100 plus shows – Koogu has come a long way since the November of 2013. I now feel it is time to end the journey. I feel Koogu has brought me to many places, and they are not all tangible, physical places. Koogu has brought people together, and touched them in a special way – just for a fleeting moment. I feel happy about that.
‘Koogu’ and I have been a part of each other right from the rehearsal stages. I don’t really recollect my first reaction to it as I was more interested in photographing the work. It is only eventually I learnt that I need to be a part of the performance to be able to document it better. A realization that has helped me improve my work but I’m still learning.
It is only very recently, after over 50 shows of Koogu, that in a workshop led by Anish on the making of Koogu, that something opened up for me. He took people attending the workshop through a process of movement and then text. Though I’ve been through this process in one of his earlier workshops, at that point I had been more concentrated on getting something right- without really understanding what that ‘something’ was!
In the recent workshop, however – I was an observer and realized how I can most effectively use the Koogu- making process is in the work that I do. So far, I had been stuck in my work as a visual artist, wanting to create works but not knowing where to start. I now wish to apply the same process in the making of my works.
We opened Koogu to an invited audience of just eight people at Visthar, on Hennur Road. Post the opening Anish decided to perform every Thursday (or was it Friday?) irrespective of whether we had an audience or not. Needless to say, it was a very slim audience on most Thursdays. On one such Thursday we (Anish, Michel and I) found ourselves waiting quite alone. It didn’t help that it was pouring and there was no power. It was pitch dark, and we couldn’t even see each other inside the theatre. Anish still wanted to perform; Michel and I were convinced that he shouldn’t. There was no audience(Michel and I were part of the team working on lights and sound and therefore didn’t count as audience) and more importantly there was no power, which meant we couldn’t see the performer even if he performed in front of us. We were still arguing about whether or not Anish should perform when someone from Visthar came in gave us a few candles. Anish went ahead and performed in candle light; to just to the two of us. It was a spectacular show, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, very moving and poignant.
We’ve just celebrated 100 shows of Koogu- Sandbox Collective’s first production. We’ve performed across the country and abroad, in homes, offices, basements, kitchens; even a Sal forest in Assam. It’s difficult for me to articulate why, but that show in the dark, with two flickering candles, and just two people in the audience remains my most favourite show. It taught me something-about what constitutes a performance. And, where we stand, as artists.