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Power of solo theatre-making with Maya K. Rao

JSLH Art and Culture brings the power of solo theatre-making with a talk by Maya K. Rao

Paridhi Mittal and Stuti Kohli

“A person is different in a room full of people and different when in a room alone. One is never solo while performing on stage as a person backstage is also a part of the play”, said Maya K Rao, an Indian theatre artist signifying the importance of speaking loudly to yourself.

Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH) invited her to be a part of its ongoing talk series of art and Culture Encounter via Zoom call on 9th October 2020. The series brings together different art forms and social concerns that epitomize the spirit of JSLH”, said Prof. Achia Anzi of JSLH.

With around 60+ attendees from O.P Jindal Global University, the talk was about her journey as an artist and the perspective she held of different art forms.

Rao described her work to be self-driven, where she creates and executes art all by herself. “Inspiration can strike from anything and everything, ranging from 35 Bidi’s to teacups collected from a railway station”, said Rao.

(Source: Jasmine Singh)
Rao likes to use her mother’s saree, in different ways during her performances

Bhanumati Rao, the artist's mother, was her inspiration many times. The emotional intensity of it following in her art shown in the presentation slides was evident.

Maya K Rao has a charismatic personality that engages the audience with her story, just like her work. In her rendition of ‘Macbeth’ which is a play written by William Shakespeare, she expressed how she put ’ ‘Gulal’ inside the iron and spread it around to show blood.

“I love to play with objects while performing and let the role I play consume me,” said Om Swaha artist . She expressed the beauty of using actions and the body instead of working on a script. She likes to engage with her act using minimum props.

The speaker did not limit herself to talk about art in the auditorium, she shared her experience throughout with clips of her performance at Shaheen Bagh during the Anti-CAA protests. Her energy was commendable and was successful in making the session engaging.

As the conversation was running out of time, with a promise to continue with the talk and cover areas like the COVID times and theatre, Rao ended the call with a thank you note.

“It was a great event, all the things Rao mentions are of great relevance, she talked about objects and space and the value of expressions in theatre”, said Jasmine Singh ,a JSJC 2018 batch student.

Edited by Aishwarya Seth and Manu Kaushal