Getting dramatic with Wajdi Mouawad!

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The Lebanese-Canadian Writer, Actor, and Theatre Director Wajdi Mouawad was recently in India for a short but intense visit coordinated by Alliance Française de Bombay. The theatrical juggernaut is currently in the process of writing his latest piece Fauves and wanted to isolate himself in a country which he wasn’t familiar with to get his creative juices flowing. The visit also enabled him to get an idea of the theatre scene in Mumbai and Delhi – two thriving metropolises which have their own unique histories of theatrical practices.

Wajdi Mouawad

Wajdi Mouawad

The visit began with an informal discussion at Prithvi Theatre with several theatre practitioners from Mumbai before the screening of the film Incendies on Feb 13, 2019. The film is based on Wajdi’s play of the same name and its screening was organised in partnership with the Quebec Government Office in Mumbai and Prithvi Theatre. Two performed readings of the same play had previously been organised in collaboration with St. Andrew’s Centre for Performing Arts (SAPP) at Theosophy Hall (Jan 9) and at SAPP premises (Feb 3).

Wajdi interacting with theatre practitioners at Prithvi Theatre on Feb 13

Wajdi interacting with theatre practitioners at Prithvi Theatre on Feb 13

The Mumbai leg of Wajdi’s visit also included a discussion with some students from the French and Theatre Departments of the University of Mumbai on Feb 15, 2019 wherein Wajdi talked about theatre, his life, and his works. In attendance were Vasumathi Badrinathan (Head, Department of French – University of Mumbai), Vidya Vencatesan (Director Incharge, Centre for European Studies – University of Mumbai), Emmanuelle Houlès (Attachée for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Consulate of France in Mumbai), and Philippe Guillien (Linguistic & Education Attaché, Consulate of France in Mumbai). Frédéric Simon (Director, AF Bombay) had previously conducted a session on Wajdi’s works, especially Incendies, at the University on Feb 1. Wajdi also briefly met Sonia Barbry – the first female Consul General of France in Bombay.

Wajdi at the University of Mumbai

Wajdi at the University of Mumbai

In Delhi, Wajdi participated in two sessions at the National School of Drama (NSD) in partnership with the French Institute in India. The first of these was an informal meeting with roughly 50 Second Year students on the institute on Feb 16. The discussion predominantly focused on the relationship between an artist’s personal history and the works that they produce. Later in the day, Wajdi was part of a panel comprising of the writers Amitabh Shrivastava and Asif Ali Haider within the framework of the Master Class section of the 20th Edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav – an international theatre festival at NSD. The session was moderated by Santanu Bose (Dean of Academic affairs and Associate Professor, World Drama at NSD). The action-packed day concluded with the reading of an extract translated in Hindi from Wajdi’s play Incendies. The playwright also took the chance to meet H.E. Alexandre Ziegler (Ambassador of France to India) in the national capital.

At the Panel Discussion organised in the framework of the 20th Edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav - an international theatre festival at NSD

At the Panel Discussion organised in the framework of the 20th Edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav – an international theatre festival at NSD

It goes without saying that Wajdi’s visit would not have been equally fruitful without the support of several organisations at different stages and in different capacities. These included Institut Français, the French Institute in IndiaAlliance Française de Delhi, University of Mumbai, Prithvi Theatre, and National School of Drama. Wajdi was pleased with his trip and will soon be back for future collaborations.

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...