‘Table Top’ performances - a sharing of work-in-progress | Sunday Observer

‘Table Top’ performances - a sharing of work-in-progress

21 February, 2021

‘Table Top Stories’ is a performance making workshop series led by the UK-based theatre company Forced Entertainment. The workshops were convened by Floating Space in Sri Lanka, and Katha Ghera in Nepal, in collaboration with the British Council.

These workshops, conducted over a four-week creative process in January 2021, brought together 10 performers/performance makers from Sri Lanka and Nepal to create a series of performance work conceived and performed using a table and a selection of everyday objects.

This performance making approach is based on Forced Entertainment’s Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare at Home which tells the plots of all of Shakespeare’s 36 plays through this compelling approach to storytelling. Each play was approached by Forced Entertainment in terms of the shape of the story, the voice of the telling and the narrative of description – around event, person and motivation.

‘Dramatis personae’

They would work out each scene and its cast of characters: what we know in the theatre as ‘dramatis personae’. Slowly, the story becomes translated to a world of objects. Immersed in a similar process of performance making, ‘Table Top Stories’ gave this community of artistes based in Sri Lankathe space to examineone’s practice and enjoy the collaborative experience of making not just with the facilitators and local artistes, but also a peer group working simultaneously in Kathmandu.

The participating artistes from Sri Lanka were Abiramy Patkunam, Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke, Chalana Wijesuriya, Sumathy Sivamohan and Tasmin Anthonisz.

Concept and the creativity

Artiste Abiramy Patkunam said,“I love theart of story telling. It’s wonderful to be creating theatre experiencesthat can be done even with minimal objects.

Art requires no luxuries; a strong concept and the creativity of an artiste will go a long way if we channel our ideas and thoughts through new and interesting creative approaches such as these.”

Chalana Wijesuriya said, “Receiving feedback about the objects selected allowed me to think in a certain way.

Additionally, being able to think out loud with certain concepts or ideas that I had with the team and hearing techniques Forced Entertainment used during their performances was quite insightful.

I feel I am discovering the importance of the relationship between the objects and the characters that I have assigned to them play a big role in this performance as the objects are quite ordinary.

This is also making me discover how I want to think about the pace and the tone of each scene and focus on which aspects of the story I want to highlight for an audience.

Having to add dialogues and giving character to these objects has also been quite an interesting process.”

Tasmin Anthonisz said, “It was honestly very refreshing to be part of the workshop. It was really nice to feel like a performer again.”