All posts by gauravtheatre

Feedback on Children’s Theatre Workshop, Karuna Wellness Centre, Delhi

Since 2010, Gaurav has conducted many workshops – theatre for children, theatre for adults, theatre therapy, and clowning – at the Karuna Wellness Centre, a Pranic Healing Centre in New Delhi.

Feedback from children who participated in an Intensive Acting Workshop, June, 2010

“I liked the workshop very much. It benefited me in many ways. It enhanced my voice quality as well as body language. It provided me an exposure. The tips will be very useful for me.”
– Manasi, 16

“The workshop was a very good experience and made me more confident. The exercises are a lot of fun and taught me a lot. These workshops should continue.”
– Shohini, 17

“The workshop was fun, after the entire holidays, finally 3 days with something to do. I learnt that physical exercises are important for anything and I am going to get serious about it. It was fun and I hope to attend more.”
– Rishabh, 17

“The workshop was fun and it helped me to develop my voice and other things. It really helped. The food was good too! I enjoyed myself.”
– Jishav, 17

“I learnt a lot from this workshop. After it I became more open.”
– Aastha, 16

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Feedback from the organiser:

“I have attended several workshops conducted by Gaurav Saini. It’s difficult to put in words the uniqueness of his teaching style. I would describe it as an extreme awareness and honesty towards himself, the ability to see things as they are, from which streams a strong power of observation.
What qualities do we appreciate in Gaurav? You have a trainer who is very sensitive to any form of falsehood, in acting or otherwise, and who will tell you so, with no trace of an ego. Whose acting talent shines forth. Who is humorous, naturally open and warm towards the participants, yet keeps the class disciplined.
His style of teaching is very physical and stems from his many years of training in various martial arts. He is amazingly athletic, even though he is not training intensively now. He is an independent thinker and uses his own teaching methodology. His is a good Hindustani classical singer, with a pleasant voice. Moreover, his sense of responsibility and punctuality is applaudable.
All rolled together, it’s quite a combination! The only thing about him is that he very careful in choosing the projects to get involved with. However, if the project rings true to his heart, he goes into it with all his passion.”

Yulia Pal
Senior trainer, Pranic Healing Foundation of Delhi
New Delhi, July 2010

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Feedback from Adult Theatre Therapy Workshop, Karuna Wellness Centre, Delhi

 Since 2010, Gaurav has conducted many workshops – theatre, theatre therapy, and clowning – at the Karuna Wellness Centre, a Pranic Healing Centre in New Delhi.

 

“Reconnect to the Child Within”: Participants share their experiences

“Just wanted to thank you for the super time i had at the theatre workshop conducted by Gaurav. It was a wonderfully relaxing 2 days spent with a small group of people, each wanting nothing but a way of reducing the unnecessary stress that we each carry with us.

What i really enjoyed was Gaurav’s easy style of handling people across age groups, his self confidence (not misplaced at all) and his true respect for each of our personalities.The completely non-judgemental approach Gaurav had to all our activities, really helped me see through the true essence of what he was trying to tell us. I did not feel defensive about any of my expressions nor did i feel at any stage incapable of learning or growing. It helped me evaluate my inner being and understand that some issues that i have struggled with for a long time in life (like a total lack of rhythm in my body) can actually be addressed by really simple ways.

I am happy that i could attend this workshop and do hope we will have more such varied interactions chalked out by our centre.”

Thanks and best always,
Shalini

(5 January 2010)

*****
The Theater Workshop curiously titled “Reconnect to the Child Within” has justified its name in the unusual way.I always thought that the mind controls everything. In the process of the workshop I realized that it’s not true! We tried something unusual, something new – to switch off our normal mental functioning and to switch on awareness. ‘Thinking with the body’!

The simple exercises, the relaxation techniques produced unusual and effective results. The trainer created a light and pleasant atmosphere. I remember his words: “Please do not try to correct your partner and teach them the ‘correct way’ of doing the exercise. Let them figure this out on their own”.

These two days passed as if I was on a holiday in the mountains. The light and humorous atmosphere in the class, the tea breaks and a tasty lunch kept reminding me of a holiday in a hill station. I realized that our normal routine during weekends – to go out on Saturday and to rest and sleep on Sunday – doesn’t give such excellent relaxation and rejuvenation for the soul and body.

The exercises gave me a lot of lightness, elevated mood and surge of energy so much needed for us, working married women. Special thanks to the trainer, Gaurav, the organizer, the Karuna Wellness Centre, and all the students who attended the workshop. Because of all of them, the results were great!

(Anna Jha)
(January 2010)

*****
It seems that the main purpose of the sessions, conducted by a theater actor Gaurav Saini, is to awaken our awareness towards Life, to teach us to pay real attention to the events happening within and without our ‘selves’.It looks like that most of us are living like ‘bio-robots’, programmed by the family and the society. We live in our mental constructions and are never aware of Life. We are not aware of our bodies. We are disconnected from our feelings. We need someone to think for us, to tell us what is best for us, to direct our life. This workshop breaks our stereotypes and reconnects us to our true self – in an atmosphere filled with laughter, amity and respect.

The medium of teaching are physical forms (based on Tai Chi and other martial arts) and theater exercises. Physical movements and the theatrical language are the two most essential human languages. Joined together masterfully, they introduce us to the ‘Art of Looking at Ourselves’. Brilliant!

(Yulia Pal)
(6 January 2010)

*****
The ‘Child Within’ has an interesting teaching pattern and employs various beneficial techniques. We had two days of fun-filled sessions. We practiced theater exercises such as Improvisation, the Alexander Technique for relaxation and posture alignment, Facial Masks, Vocal, Opening all Senses, Foot Tapping (Group Rhythm), Trust, Song Singing, vocally and silently, – all this was to train us to be together as one soul of this session. The end result was feeling good about ourselves.
(Sumita Kapoor)
(12 January 2010)

*****
Why was a Theatre workshop organized at a Pranic Healing Centre?Of course, this was not any ordinary Theatre workshop, but this is the natural question that would occur to anyone, and therefore, this article. Yes, there is a huge relevance of this kind of a workshop in this place.

As Pranic healers, we are concerned with energy and proper flow of energy, and aware of the close link between the excellence of this flow and good health. Most of our ailments are caused by a disturbance in this flow somewhere or somehow. As healers, we try to clear these obstacles, restore the circulation and balance the energy in the various parts of the body. However, unless the flow is thereafter maintained, the imbalance of energy will inevitably re-occur and so also, the illness. The bottom-line, therefore, is that we have to consciously correct the unhealthy patterns – of our lifestyle and our thinking – that upset the energy flow and cause illness.

On the Physical Plane

This workshop, through a wide range of games, exercises and activities, actually opened our eyes to a fact that we were not ready to accept initially – that we don’t really know our own body, let alone have much control over it in the true sense.We unconsciously adopt wrong breathing habits and incorrect posture. We strain ourselves and punish our bodies by being unaware of the correct use of the various parts. There is no manufacturer’s manual that tells us how to use and maintain our bodies properly as we maintain our cars. We use certain faculties too much, and never use certain others. On the energy level, we are unaware of our immense power – because we use the wrong chakras to do the wrong job, and certain chakras are underdeveloped while others are overworked and misused. We are unaware of how we waste our energy in doing simple actions the wrong way, and fail to achieve energy efficiency or qualitative excellence.

The first step towards correcting this is to be aware of ourselves, deeply and truly. The potent combination of Theatre techniques and various techniques from different Martial Art forms taught in this workshop are powerful tools to begin this journey.

On the Inner plane

Master Choa Kok Sui has given us one simple mantra regarding the way we should lead our lives – “Follow the Virtues!”

However, as we all realize, this is easier said than done. “Loving kindness towards oneself
and others” is not that easy to practice as it first seems. We fail to understand, in many situations, what kindness is, or in how many countless ways our actions, words and thoughts are injurious. “Honesty” is almost impossible to attain because we are not even aware of the levels of our dishonesty towards ourselves. “Moderation” is hard to practice because we are swayed by emotions rather than guided by our inner voice.

Do we listen when we are hearing others out, or see when we look? Do we really respect others and their sensibilities? Do we truly trust the people we call our friends, let alone acquaintances or colleagues? Though we are constantly trying to control so many things and people, including our children and our spouses, do we really have control over ourselves? Do we really understand love, though we use the word so often?

These are just some of the pertinent and hard-hitting questions that were thrown up during the two day workshop. Every little game we participated in were exercises that are designed to help us identify the Virtues –in practice, in life –and make us aware of how we break them. Directly or indirectly, they gave us insights into ourselves and each other. They made us gently explore aspects of our nature that we don’t know how to deal with, and therefore, have learned to ignore or have even stopped acknowledging. They also made us realise that if we modify some of our habits, and adopt some others, we can effortlessly achieve Beauty, Harmony, Oneness and Happiness, all of which are the ingredients of Good Health!

The Facilitator

As all students would agree, the quality of the Teacher is what decides the quality of the learning. Gaurav Saini, who has the powerful and potent combination of Theatre and Martial Arts as his training, came across as a sensible, sensitive, perceptive, experienced and deeply evolved person, bringing with him the compassion and wisdom of much internalization of great teachings. His experience spoke for itself from the ease with which he got his fingers on the pulse of each participant, and the quiet confidence and respect with which he handled the motley group of people from different backgrounds and with different varieties of mental blocks and inhibitions. His gentle, non-judgemental attitude made everyone comfortable and helped build up a level of trust quickly. He believes in and practices the policy of letting people find their own questions and answers rather than imposing his views. To cut a long story short, he is the kind of teacher you respect deeply and would love to keep learning from! Thank you, Gaurav! Thank you, Master, for leading us to him, and thank you Yulia, for sharing this great experience with us!
(Sujasha Dasgupta)
(January 2010)

*****
The workshop with Gaurav Saini was a very beautiful experience.I have always felt very nice being in a group and doing exercises, dance and other way of expressing releasing and letting go.

Gaurav has an excellent mix of great exercises to get the group together to create a sense of togetherness, safety and gentle affection.

Being a life coach myself, who is focused on expression and release work, I learnt a whole lot of new exercises which I would like to use in my programs.

Gaurav has a good knowledge of acting, martial arts and bodywork and he can really help you to drop your mind and to connect to yourself.

Such work shops are a great way to heal, express yourself, enjoy and learn. What can be achieved in a group, cannot be achieved alone.

Some of Gaurav’s exercises have a potential of really helping others through letting out all the repressed emotions and things that make us feel stifled and inhibited.

(Baljit Singh)
(22 January 2010)

*****
Gaurav Saini’s weekend session with us was very interesting in terms of the activities and exercises that he had put together on both the days.
I personally took away the Alexander technique that he taught us for overall relaxation and release of tension and blockages from the body. I have begun making use of it for a period 30 – 45 mins per day and gain a lot of relaxation from it at the end of the day and wake up much more relaxed the next day.
Some of the Tai chi free hand exercises have also been quite relaxing and good for gaining focus back into oneself. His sessions are highly recommended for all.
(Aditi Rai)
(24 January 2010)
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Feedback from the organiser:

“I have attended several workshops conducted by Gaurav Saini. It’s difficult to put in words the uniqueness of his teaching style. I would describe it as an extreme awareness and honesty towards himself, the ability to see things as they are, from which streams a strong power of observation.
What qualities do we appreciate in Gaurav? You have a trainer who is very sensitive to any form of falsehood, in acting or otherwise, and who will tell you so, with no trace of an ego. Whose acting talent shines forth. Who is humorous, naturally open and warm towards the participants, yet keeps the class disciplined.
His style of teaching is very physical and stems from his many years of training in various martial arts. He is amazingly athletic, even though he is not training intensively now. He is an independent thinker and uses his own teaching methodology. His is a good Hindustani classical singer, with a pleasant voice. Moreover, his sense of responsibility and punctuality is applaudable.
All rolled together, it’s quite a combination! The only thing about him is that he very careful in choosing the projects to get involved with. However, if the project rings true to his heart, he goes into it with all his passion.”

Yulia Pal
Senior trainer, Pranic Healing Foundation of Delhi
New Delhi, July 2010

Feedback from Adult Theatre Therapy Workshop at the American Embassy School

In September 2010, the Adult Education Program at the American Embassy School, Delhi, organised a Drama Therapy Workshop.

aes-theatre-workshop2

Official feedback from the American Embassy School:

“I feel I really got a lot from this course. Very focused and committed instructor with in depth knowledge. Good communication skills. Had many ideas, and a lot to share. I felt I had a lot still to learn from this instructor. I would like to do another course similar to this one.”

– Debbie Darby

Personal Feedback:

“Many thanks for you for your time and commitment on the Drama Therapy course. I felt the course content was really great. I have found the breathing an on going help as well as the tree meditation. I personally am seeking ways of connecting with my feelings more and thinking less. Connecting with my feelings is uncomfortable for me and this is what I need help with. So it is actually drama therapy I need.

Working with the body, breathing, finding neutral and building up from there to visualising images and having a clear story to tell was an approach I found very effective. It was an unfamiliar process but one I could see would get easier over time.

I felt that I could apply these techniques to dance and music as well. I felt they were powerful techniques that could really grow my abilities as a performer. I find I am performing less and less as I find the experience so frightening. So I would like an opportunity to get over the fear. This is about being comfortable with who I am and being confident.

I enjoyed working with other people and working on connecting and responding from the gut. Again an unfamiliar but good process for me. Being spontaneous I found very hard but also very freeing and confidence building.”

– Debbie Darby


“The course was much better than I would have hoped for it to be. The course was well developed and worked on many areas of the subject. It was certainly very broadening experience. Instructor was very passionate about his work and gave it everything.”

– Anjli Sennik


This was the only course I found which was a little out of the ordinary in the program offered. It seemed challenging yet in a very cozy and small prestige free environment. Gaurav is very good in creating ambiance and ambition. Gaurav is very professional. Keep the course! And try to include “testimonials” in all courses in next year’s catalogue for all the courses: “Very good teacher, I am now thinking of trying out acting which is completely new to me”.

– Fredrik Agerhem


“In all, very good!”

– Jean–Pierre Muller / Julie Muller

Feedback from Gender Sensitization Workshop at BHU, Varanasi

From 27th September to 4th October 2012, the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, Banaras Hindu University, organised a Gender Sensitization Workshop in collaboration with NIRMAN. The workshop, conducted by Gaurav Saini, used Forum Theatre methods to explore and expand the participants’ ideas about gender and the issues they face in their own lives. The workshop culminated with a performance of two short plays created by the participants using stories of their own lives.

 

Feedback from the organisers:

ANITA SINGH Professor, Department of English, Banaras Hindu University: “Well, they recreated scenes from everyday life -locating oppression and restructuring the image of oppression so as to relieve it. This was quite interesting , it was a GENDER SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP organised at the centre – it was conducted by Gaurav Saini. The workshop was interspersed throughout with games and exercises which served to de-mechanize the body, to get us out of habitual behavior, as a prelude to moving beyond habitual thinking and interacting. Was great fun too!!”

 

Feedback from the participants:

Dear Sir, thank you so much for imparting your theatrical skills to us. I  have earned a lot of knowledge during the workshop and have enjoyed each segment of it. The discussions, language experiments, games-exercises, acting, team-work, tea-breaks… everything was just fantastic. I wish to get another opportunity to learn from you . Thank you again. Best regards, Devyani

It was really a great pleasure to learn from you in a workshop, which was different in various aspects from many other workshops. Those various aspect (image works of forum theatre etc.) are also a important part of our orientation (on women)…..further, our faculties also discuss about those aspects in orientation, which we play on opening day of orientation. Thanks, regards! Minti

It was a nice experience Sir, specially for me as it is directly related to my topic of research. Moreover it was a nice exploration of the self. Maneesh

Thank you sir, working in this way. An awesome and different experience! Thank you Sir! Regards, Richa

Hello Gaurav Sir, Thanks to you for conducting such a wonderful workshop with us which actually made us realise our selves…it truly realised us with our whole being…working with you was altogether very enlightening… Regards, Manjari Shukla

We are very grateful  that we got  your valuable inputs and kind guidance in such a  interactive and friendly manner . Thank you so much for  giving your precious time . It will be a memorable experience for a life time. In the last a kind request that in future also please make us the part of such a learning process… Thanks & regards, Anuradha Pal

Breaking up patterns of our mind…

Every individual has their own patterns and habits which translate into actions. To find something new, you have to break those patterns. And since it is very difficult to break up patterns of your mind, we begin with the body. This is my approach. Any play that is verbal can be done physically. It is only a matter of going deeper and finding the essence of any text. This takes months of hard work.

How does physical training benefit an actor?

Physical theatre is not just about acrobatics. The benefit of training for an actor is that he becomes highly aware of his body and gets a sense of precision and balance, which cuts away the clutter of unnecessary movements. This makes his/her presence resonate powerfully on stage.

In traditional theatre, you train in a form for many years, and once you become a master, you break the form and therefore you find independence as an artist. In conventional theatre, you begin free but later get bound by your own patterns or the director’s, losing autonomy as an actor.

Boal: The Fable of Xua-Xua, the Pre-Human Woman who Discovered Theatre

Excerpts from “Games for Actors and Non-Actors” by Augusto Boal, translated by Adrian Jackson

“The word ‘theatre’ is so rich in different meanings, some complementary, some contradictory, that we never know what we mean when we talk about theatre.

Which theatre do we mean?

First of all, theatre is a place: a building, any kind of construction specifically designed to house shows, plays, theatrical presentations. In this context the word ‘theatre’ takes in all the paraphernalia of theatrical production-sets, lights, costumes, etc-and all the agents of that production, the actors, playwrights, directors, designers and so on.

Theatre is the setting for major events, comic or tragic, which we are obliged to observe at a distance, as spectators: the theatre of crime, the theatre of war, the theatre of the play of our passions.

We can also use the word ‘theatre’ in reference to the great social occasions: the inauguration of a monument, the launching of a ship, the coronation of a monarch, a military parade, a mass, a ball. The word ‘rite’ can be used to designate these manifestations of theatre.

Theatre can also be the repetitive acts of daily life. We perform the play of breakfast, the scene of going to work, the act of working, the epilogue of supper, the epics of Sunday lunch with the family, etc.; like actors in a long run of successful show, repeating the same lines to the same partners, thousand of times over.

Life can become a series of mechanisations, as rigid and as lifeless as the movement of machine. This type of theatre, encrusted in our lives, can be called ’profane ritual(s)’.

Phrases like ‘over dramatising’, making a scene, playing it up-or in French ‘faire du theatre’ – are used to describe situations where people are manipulated or exaggerating or distorting the truth. In this context, theatre and lies are synonymous.

But in a most archaic sense, theatre is the capacity possessed by human beings – and not by animals – to observe themselves in action. Humans are capable of seeing themselves in the act of seeing, of thinking their emotions, of being moved by their thoughts. They can see themselves here and imagine themselves there; they can see themselves today and imagine themselves tomorrow.

That’s why humans are capable to identify (themselves and others) and not merely to recognise. A cat recognises its master, who gives it food and strokes it, but can not identify him as a teacher, a professional person, a lover. To identify is to be able not only to recognise within the same repetitive context but also to extrapolate to others contexts; to see beyond what the eyes see, to hear beyond what the ear hears, to feel beyond what touches the skin, to think beyond what words mean.

I can identify a friend by a single gesture, a painter by his style, a politician by the policies he supports. Even in the absence of the subject, I can identify his mark, his traces, his actions, his merits.

THE FABLE OF XUA-XUA, THE PRE-HUMAN WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THEATRE

An ancient Chinese fable, dating form ten thousand years before Christ, tells the story of xua-xua (Pronounced ‘shwa-shwa’), the pre-human woman who made the extraordinary discovery of theatre.

According to this old tale, it was a woman not a man! – who made this discovery.

Men only embezzled this wonderful art and at various times through ages, exclude women as actors and even as spectators. In some societies men even appropriated and acted women’s role – for instance, in Shakespearean times young boys (men not yet adult, not yet mature) played fully grown queens! In Greek Theatre women were not even allowed to be passive spectators… Because theatre is such a strong and powerful art, men invented new ways of using what was essentially women’s discovery. Women discovered the art and men invented its artifices – buildings, playacting.

Xua-Xua lived hundreds of thousands of years ago, when pre-women and pre-men wandered from mountains to valley, from land to sea, killing other animals to feed themselves, eating leaves and fruits from trees, drinking water from rivers, protecting themselves inside caverns among the rocks.

These pre-human lived in hordes to defend themselves. Xua-Xua – who of course had no such name, nor any other, as no verbal language had yet been invented. Xua-Xua was the most beautiful female in her horde and Li-Peng was the strongest of the males.

Naturally they were attracted to each other; they liked swimming together, climbing trees and mountains together, they liked to smell and lick one another, to touch, to embrace, have sex together. It was good to be with one another. Together.

They were happy as happy as two pre-human people could be.

One day Xua-Xua felt her body becoming different. Her belly was growing. And as her belly grew, she became shy and started to avoid Li-Peng who couldn’t understand what was happening; his Xua-Xua was no longer the same Xua-Xua, neither physically nor in her moods. They kept their distance from one another.

Xua-Xua liked to stay alone watching her belly; Li-Peng went off in pursuit of other females but could find no one like his original female.

Xua-Xua felt her belly moving; when she was on the point of falling asleep, her belly would shift from right to left, from left to right. As time went by her belly grew bigger and bigger and move more and more. Like a well behaved member of the audience, Li-Ping looked on from afar, very sad and very afraid. He just watched without acting, spectator to her incomprehensible actions.

In his mother’s womb, Lig-Lig-Le – this was the name of the child, even though he had no name because no language had yet been invented but this is an old Chinese fable where all liberties are licensed and welcomed! – was growing bigger and bigger but he cold not determine the extent and limits of his body. Did his body stop at his skin? At the amniotic fluid in which he was floating?  Did Lig-Lig-Li end at the limits of his mother’s surrounding body? Was that the world? He and his mother and the world were one single unity, he were they and they were he. This is why even today when we immerse our naked bodies in the water of a bathtub, the swimming pool or the sea, we feel again those primal sensations, we merge our bodies with the whole world, Mother Earth.

This confusion of body and the world could occur because Lig-Lig-Le’s senses were not yet fully activated; he still couldn’t see because his eyes were closed, he couldn’t smell because there was no atmosphere in that tiny cramped space and he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t taste because he was fed through the umbilical cord and not through his mouth. He couldn’t feel because his skin was always touching the same liquid at the same temperature and there was nothing to compare it with. All feeling is comparing: we sense a sound because we can hear silence, we smell a perfume because we can smell bad odours.

Hearing was the first sense to make a clear appearance. Lig-Lig-Le was concretely stimulated by his ears. He heard continuous rhythms, periodical sounds and aleatory noises – his mother’s heart beat and his own, blood running fast, gastric sounds and external voices.

His first clear sensations were acoustic and he had to organise those sounds, to orchestrate them; that’s why music is the most archaic art, the most deeply rooted – it comes from the womb. It helps to organise the world but not to understand it; it is a pre-human art, created before birth.

The other arts came after, when other senses were revealed. One month after birth the baby starts to see, at first only shapes, then with more precision.

But what can we see, we adults? We see a continuous flow of images in movement. That’s why we need the plastic arts to fix images, to immobilise them, which is impossible in daily life.

Photography, cinema, impressionism came later to immobilise movement itself.

These arts see reality from the outside; dance, by contrast, penetrates movement and organises it, using sound to support this organisation. These are the three artistic senses – hearing and sight, the main ones and between the actors – and occasionally from actor to audience – touch. The other two – taste and smell – are concerned with practical aspects of animal life.

One bright, sunny day, Xua-Xua gave birth to a child, on the banks of the river. Still Li-Peng, watched from behind the tree, taking no action, frightened.

This was pure magic. Xua-Xua looked at her child but could not understand. That tiny little body was part of her body; it had been inside her, now it was outside her, but undoubtedly it was she. Mother and child were one and the same; the evidence was that the small body (part of her) wanted to come back, to join with the big body by sucking her breast. So she could rest assured, she was both, both bodies were she. Without doubt. From  afar Li-Peng, the good spectator observed.

Lig-Lig-Le grew up, learned to walk on his two feet, to feed on things other than the milk from the mother-body. And in the same measure he became more independent, sometimes he would not obey the big body. Xua-Xua was terrified – it was like telling one’s hands to pray and instead they start to box, or telling one’s leg to sit and they walk away. A rebellion was taking place, led by a small part of her – a small but dear part of her body. And she would look at herself-mother and herself-baby; both of them were she, but one of her was playing tricks, being naughty, disobeying. Li-Peng merely watched them (watching her-big and her-small). He kept his distance, just looking.

One day, Xua-Xua was sleeping. Li-Peng was curious, because he could not understand the relation between Xua-Xua and her son, and he wanted to try to establish his own relationship with the boy. So when the boy awoke before his mother. Li-Peng attracted his attention, and two of them went off together. From the start Li-Peng knew that he and the boy were two different bodies, the boy was ‘the other’ and not himself, not Li.

Li-Peng taught Lig-Lig-Le how to hunt and fish and the boy was happy. When Xua-Xua awoke and looked for her small body and could not find it, she was unhappy. She cried and cried – she had lost part of herself – and shouted and shouted, hoping her cries would be heard but Li-Peng and the little had gone away.

However, since they belonged to the same horde, a few days later Xua-Xua saw them both, father and child. She wanted to get her baby-body back but he refused, for he was also happy with his father, who taught him things his mother didn’t know.

Xua-Xua had to accept that the small body even though it had been born inside her – it was she! – was also somebody else, with his own needs and desires. The refusal of Lig-Lig-Le to obey his mother made her aware that they were two, not one; she did not want to stay with Li-Peng, Lig-lig-Le wanted to – each had made their own choice!

Each had an opinion. Each had their own feelings. They were different people.

This recognition forced her to identify herself: Who was she? Who was her child? Who was Li-Peng? Where were they? What would happen next time, if her belly swelled again? Did she like Li-Peng as much now as she had done before? Would she try other males, as he had tried other females? Would all males be as predatory as Li-Peng? And what about she-herself? Would she stay the same? What would happen tomorrow?

Xua-Xua looked  for answers by looking at herself.

In that moment, theatre was discovered. The moment when Xua-Xua gave up trying to recover her baby and keep him all for herself, accepted that he was somebody else, and looked at herself, emptied of part of herself. At that moment, she was at one and the same time, Actor and Spectator. She was Spect-Actor. In discovering theatre, the being became human.

This is theatre – the art of looking at ourselves.”

Büchner On Drama

Karl George Büchner (1813 – 1837)

“The dramatic poet is, in my eyes, nothing but a writer of history, but is superior to the latter in that he creates history for the second time. He transplants us directly into the mist of the life of an era, giving us, instead of a dry account of it, characters rather than characteristics, and figures rather than descriptions. His foremost task is to get as close as possible to history as it really happened.

The poet is not a teacher of morals; he invents and creates characters, he brings the past epochs back to life, and people may learn from these as they learn from the study of history and their observation of what happen around them in human life…

If someone were to tell me that the poet should not represent the world as it is, but rather as it should be, I would answer that I don’t wish to make it better than the good lord who surely created the world as it ought to be…”

Freidrich Hebbel, “A Word About Drama”

“Art has to do with life, inner and outer life, and one may well say that it represents both simultaneously: purest form and highest content. Life, however, appears in two fold forms, as being and as becoming, and art fulfills its task most completely when it maintains an even balance between the two. Only this way can it assure itself of both present and future, which must be of equal importance, only in this way can it become what it ought to become: life in life.

But the content of life is inexhaustible and the medium of art is limited. Life knows no conclusion, the thread on which it spins its phenomena merges into the infinite.

Art on the other hand must come to a conclusion, it must, as best it can, tie the thread into a circle…

For the poet, history is the vehicle for the embodiment of his views and ideas, whereas, to turn the statement around, he is not the resurrecting angel for history…”