SAIIER 2019:Satsang Project

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SAIIER 2018-19
Satsang Project

by Francesca


The purpose of the project was to expand Satsang Project activity, born in 2017. It is a multifaceted project that mainly deals with cultural diffusion, creative writing and theatre, both from an educational and performative point of view. I am quite satisfied with the work done during this year.

Creative writing classes:

The creative writing classes have reached several Aurovilians who have shown interest. The class also achieved a fairly high level of notoriety in Auroville. In fact, I often find myself stopped on the street and asked for information about it. The Aurovilians, the newcomers and the volunteers who attended my classes during the year have all benefited from the experience and are now able to use creative writing on their own – as a tool for self-exploration and healing, as a tool for purely creative and artistic expression as well as being a valuable way to find practical solutions for one’s own working activities.

“And she was writing”:

In October I started applying the creative writing process to the theatre. In fact I want to mention that before being a writer and multi-creative person, I have been dealing with theatre for at least 20 years. So I started writing “And she was writing”, an innovative monologue that combines a new use of music and sounds (recorded in the recording room), movement and text.

The monologue was a tribute to Julia Cameron, the writer who made creative writing a well-known activity available for everybody.

The premiere of the show was in CRIPA on December 7th, 2018.

Collaboration with Pondicherry University:

There have been unplanned and very positive work experiences such as my collaboration with the performing arts department of Pondicherry. I was contacted by Mr. Ravivarma Raja in September 2018 and in November 2019 I conducted a class for the second-year students in that department. These students went through a month of rehearsals. The show was based on the study of the Italian style of Commedia dell'Arte. The script on which we worked is “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni. On this script the students have taken one of the last exams of their course of study.

Directing a play in Auroville:

in February 2018 I was asked by a group of Aurovilians to direct a comedy again. I had been the director of “The Odd Couple” staged 4 years ago, with Otto, Krishna, Lyle, Hamish, Charu, Elke and others. Aurovilians still remember that event with joy and i am glad for that. So I said yes, without a second thought.

First I focused on finding the right script. Once I found the script – “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn – I started to organise the set and the group. I have also started a theatre education campaign for people who have never had any experience and who want to learn more about it to better appreciate it.

This staging will take care of maintaining a close dialogue with the community until the day of its final realisation. I aspire for the whole community to be involved at least from an educational point of view. That's why I created the Facebook group “Comedy in Auroville”, where I am posting informative videos and posts on the art of comedy and theatre in general. And about the whole process of creating a performance, documenting the evolution of the project “Noises Off”. I am also creating an Instagram and Youtube page related to this project.

“My Creative Writing”:

I had originally planned to collaborate with Auroville Radio on this, but they are undergoing a process of change inside their structure and collaboration isn't possible for the time being. So I resolved to do what was intended to in a different way. I opened a page on Facebook called “My Creative Writing” and a Youtube page. And I started to upload self-made videos there, on how to create a short story a week. It is an intense work to publish these videos regularly.

The outcome is that the Facebook page is starting to have many followers in India. That was unexpected, since I intended to do this having Aurovilians as a target.

I have now found collaborators among Savi volunteers, and we will expand this project on Instagram and Youtube with new activities and videos.

The next step now is to put this activity together with the new educational activity in the field of theatre.

Collaboration with Swadharma:

In October 2018 I was contacted by the Swadharma programme team, and led a creative writing class aimed at young Aurovillians under Swadharma itself.

In December 2018 I was asked by the Swadharama team to lead a class within the 5 weeks of the Swadharma programme. I was asked to use my knowledge on theatrical techniques to help the participants in the program explore their emotional and vital worlds, and to help the most timid and closed be able to express themselves without anxiety before an audience. I therefore conducted 10 classes during December and January 2019.

Outcomes:

  1. The weekly classes on creative writing.
  2. Classes on investigating the link between a good written script and a good theatre play.
  3. The performance “And she was writing”. Written, directed, performed by me. I also composed the music for the stage.
  4. Launched a Facebook page with videos on creative writing and how to write a short story every week.
  5. Launching a page called “Comedy in Auroville” which will document the process of building a performance following the project-performance “Noises Off” which will take place in Bharat Nivas on October 2019.
  6. One month of workshops at Pondicherry University's performating arts department staging “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni. A Commedia dell’Arte study.
  7. Swadharma’s creative writing classes.
  8. Swadharma’s classes exploring the vital through theatre exercises.
  9. Creative writing inspirational cards.
  10. Launched the spiritual poetry event “Wings of the Spirit”.
  11. Since last February I have been organising the cast, the location, the stage costumes and the fundraising for “Noises Off”, the next comedy played by Aurovilians for Aurovilians.
  12. Workshops for Aurovilians, newcomers and volunteers to spread some knowledge about the theatre culture.

The beneficiaries of these activities are always and primarily Aurovilians, newcomers and volunteers. The Swadharma programme participants benefited as well.

Reflections:

The most interesting aspect of this project was how things developed by themselves, without any particular programming on my part. It was all very organic. I did things which had been on my mind, but I also went though completely unexpected experiences (such as the work at Pondicherry University and my participation in Swadharma). There were also unexpected difficulties, such as the lack of collaboration with Auroville Radio. But from this unforeseen difficulty another activity has flourished that will bear fruit not very long from now. Looking back today at the entire journey, I would say that there is an almost logical sense of how things have developed.

Conclusion:

I think this last year has given an interesting and unexpected base for my activity. Now it is more clear and organic than a year ago.

I intend to develop my classes on Creative Writing in a different way. I also want to write a workbook on creative writing and continue the experiment through the Facebook page “My Creative Writing”. I will use instagram as well. I have a feeling that something interesting will come out of this. Maybe in the future Auroville will become a reference point for creative writers in India. And theatre people as well.


External links