While we are yet to discover other worlds and dimensions, stories are the only things that can transfer you to a different world. Be it in the form of literature, on screen or performed live. The world of stories is also a mirror to our society, the inspiration for them lies within us. Rangaai Theatre Company gets the world of stories a little closer as you not only witness them but you live them as well. The Darkroom, a room which was much in use during the time we used films to develop pictures is now in the digital age used to develop stories and bringing them to life. After the success of the first edition of this experimental and experiential way of storytelling, they are back with another set of stories which are surely going to send chills down your spine.
While the tales of ghosts and other unearthly things might scare you, they cannot be compared to the horrors meted out by humans. The Darkroom Project 2.0 is going to serve you just that. When they say experiential, they mean it. Right from the time you enter, you are introduced to characters like Rukmini (who also sings her namesake), Saif (who is from Lucknow), Ayodhya (who keeps you entertained) and Sannata (who is there to scare you). While we wait for other people to be there, they keep us engrossed with their antics, keeping up the suspense of what happens when you will step inside. Then you are blindfolded and taken into the room, where someone thrusts a chocolate into your hand by a man talking in Bengali. From what you can hear and smell, the atmosphere is festive and by whispers in your ear, you know it is the season of Durgo Pujo. In absence of your sight, the senses are heightened and in that moment you are truly transported in the middle of the story.
The blindfolds come off then and the room's lighting is no different from that of a dark room used in photography. As you settle yourself, the story of Durgo Pujo begins starting a chain reaction, which will leave you unsettled. We will not divulge the stories, as the shock value adds to the effect. But you can be assured of the quality of the stories as revered storytellers like Ismat Chugtai, Premchand and Saadat Manto are the authors. If you are looking for something horrifying, it is the right place to be.
Tushar Dalvi and his team have done an exceptional job. Right from getting the sound right to maintaining the aroma in the air is no easy task. While the actors might keep your eyes glued to the stage, these things keep your other senses in the play. As the stories progress, the audience is swept into them as the characters interact with the members of the audience and the thin line between the spectator and the performer is wiped out.
The seating and the waiting time is unorthodox but it is more than worth it. If you like experimenting and are curious about this form of theatre, you definitely shouldn't miss this the next time it's in town.