A year ago, our theatre was partially destroyed by a fire…
This elicited a great outpouring of solidarity. The fire revealed how dear the theatre was to the people of Pondicherry and to what extent our efforts, which we had thought were ephemeral and insignificant, were supported by you : Pondicherry may have existed without a theatre but once it has been established and has attuned itself to the pulse of the city, our little theatre has become a privileged place where human experiences are shared.
The theatre has come into being thanks to Father Michael John, who like a good priest worthy of a Victor Hugo novel, welcomed into his heart and his space first, our dream of theatre and then us, young Indian artists dreaming of an India that is not only an economic power but also a land of incredible, innovative and profound artistic exploration.
We have imagined this place as an isle that would, for the span of an evening, break free of space-time, curved by the weight of daily routine.
Despite the holes in the roof, the holes in our pockets and the holes on the stage, we have been able to pursue, thanks to the generosity of many, our unlikely theatrical adventure. In fact, we have had to unravel thousands of knots, overcome thousands of constraints and conquer several chasms of despair.
Like one of our friends wisely said: “As long as the hurdles remain surmountable, let us believe.” Thanks to the Gods of Theatre, the fire, the cancelled shows, the unpaid rent, the rats that attempt to take over our theatre in our absence; nothing seemed insurmountable to us.
But the fire has brought a fact to light : “The theatre can only be public.”
And so we give ourselves three years to convince the Indian government, the government of Pondicherry and other cultural institutions to support us via grants. This struggle, we’d like to carry out serenely, by focusing on our work.
Our commitment is simple : during the next three years, we will put everything in place so that our ship that is floating in Pondicherry is able to cast an anchor in a perennial manner and navigate the mysterious labyrinth of the human spirit, without hurdles.
To do so, we make an appeal : “May two thousand people donate a thousand rupees each”. This will ensure that the theatre functions properly for a year and you will thus become an ‘honorary shareholder’ of our company, with access to our monthly financial accounts, our statutes, all the performances produced by our company. You will especially relieve us of one of our rocks of Sisyphus-money.
It is with a little apprehension and a lot of hope that we make this appeal for solidarity and for help, but generosity is not only about giving. It is also about receiving, so do come to the theatre, for in this place, you are king.
Allow me to finish with the words of Rahul, one of our characters from our play ‘Alfonsina’:
“…Lots of different theatres, but behind the scenes, it is always the same story, men and women working with self-denial despite the indifference and the improbability of success. A community of martyrs that takes pride in worshipping freedom.”