Jill_NavHindTimesA theatre workshop by playwright, screenwriter and director, Jill Navarre will be held on May 27 at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at ICG, co-organised by The International Centre Goa and The Samraat Club of Panaji. It is free and open to public. For inquiry call 8698672080 or email pro@incentgoa.com.


from the Navhind Times:

‘Theatre in India has always been a sacred art’

Director of the Auroville Theatre Group, Jill Navarre will be conducting a theatre workshop for the people of Goa. In conversation with NT BUZZ she speaks about the workshop, her interesting journey from USA to Auroville (Puducherry), which has been her home for more than 20 years, and the importance of art in Indian culture

  • Can you tell us about your workshop on theatre which will be held here in Goa?

I hope my workshop will be a sharing of skills with other theatre artists. This is my first time in Goa, so really I would like to learn from the Goan artists and explore possibilities for collaboration in the future. It is a first gathering, let’s say, and I am very curious who will come and what we can share together.

  • The workshop details mentions that you will emphasise on the use of breath to access energy. How important is breathing to a theatre actor and why does an actor have to focus on his inner energy in order to express him/herself?

Breathing is the source of energy, for actors, for sports people, for dancers, for martial artists, for anyone who uses her/his body consciously to express her/himself. So, it is important to become conscious of where this energy comes from, how to access it, and how to use it properly so that you don’t waste it. For actors, it is important to recognise that it supports movement and speaking/singing. If you use your breath improperly, you can strain you voice, get tired easily, create unnecessary tension in the body and create a strained sound.

  • For almost 25 years now, you have been a part of the Auroville Theatre Group. What is it about Auroville that makes you stay there even after all these years and also can you share with us about your journey to this place?

My Auroville story! That’s a long one. I will give you the short version: I came first time to India as a traveler in 1987 with a friend who knew something about Auroville. We dropped in for a few days while visiting Pondicherry and I was intrigued by the people I met and the vibration. I promised I would come back one day for another look. Finally, in 1990, I did come back for another stay with a dancer friend of mine and we managed to put on a show, which I had written called ‘Mommy, I’m Home.’ And I began to meet dancers, musicians and learn something about the raison d’etre for Auroville and what was behind it. I began to learn about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa, Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual companion). I read and talked with some people living in Auroville, liked the ideas expressed in Mother’s writings and something about the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo started to work inside me. I decided to return for one year. I felt called to return in 1990 and didn’t go back to the US for ten years.

Ahh, see, this is already too long! The simplest reason I can give for staying in Auroville is that I feel happy there. I feel I am in the right place, doing what I was meant to do. I have been artistic director of the Auroville Theatre Group for about 20 years.

  • Being an active theatre personality how do you look at the growth of theatre in India? Is it now re-emerging as a form of art or is it in constant competition with other forms of storytelling like TV, cinema and now internet?

Theatre in India has always been a sacred art and will never be replaced by anything. It is this connection to the sacred source of dance/theatre which makes the performing arts of south Asia special to me — in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, etc., you will find artists are inspired by something vaster and finer than themselves. We recognise the sacred in ourselves and use this connection in our art. This is irreplaceable. Nothing can destroy or replace this connection. It is in the genes, in the air we breathe, in the sound of the mullah’s call to prayer, in the sweet song of the parrots in the morning, in the tinkle of bicycle bells from children going off to school, the sweet sound of the deluge of a monsoon rain after a torrid dry season.

  • Lastly, for you what’s the definition of art?

Art is the ineffable form truth and beauty takes in matter.