This interview has been published ezine.com.np and contains an interview with Sarwanam´s Australian friends John and Jacqi who visited us some time ago.
Hope you enjoy getting to know them!!!
By Sunita and Nischal
September 8, 2007
Nepali theatre doesn’t have much experience of western theatre pattern. But Sarwanam Theatre Group made it possible. On an invitation and request of Sarwanam, a famous Australian Theatre Group from Frank Theatre visited Nepal recently and trained Nepali theatre artists and made them familiar with the western theatre.
In conversation with ezine team, Mr. John Nobbs (Trainer / Actor) and Mrs. Jacqui Carroll (Director / Actor) shared some of their memories. Here are some glimpse of our chatting for you all…
At the beginning, both Jacqui and I had extensive career in dancing. She was a highly valued ballet choreographer and I was a ballet dancer. We both had close association with many of the world’s most accomplished dance artists so that when we came into contact with Mr. Suzuki’s (a Japanese director) theatre style we identified where we stand on an international level. We were enthralled by Mr. Suzuki’s training method which is very structured whether it is athletic training or dance training or music training and system of developing actors.
Because it has immediacy and not so much of technology involved. It is just like a sport where we can have an instant feedback for our work.
Q. As it is more realistic and live, have you faced any difficulties while performing?
No, till date we have never faced such difficulties. From our preliminary phase, due to our dedication and attachment towards this field, our performance is getting bigger and better .Every year we visit our master, our Guru Mr. Suzuki and acquire more information and inspiration to improve our doings.
Q. What are the basic differences you find in Nepalese theatre style and Australian theatre style?
Nepali theatres donot have much experience of western theatre pattern and we are interested in merging Nepali culture and western. We are here for the reason to experience classical Nepali culture and religion and developing east-west fusion relationship.
Q. What are the major problems you have faced while training Nepali theatre group?
I don’t think there is a problem while teaching them. Only thing is that they are not used to training and speaking English. They should be acquainted with the training system and should know the importance of training to enhance their performance.
Q. Besides running Frank Theatre, are you involved in any other activities?
Not exactly, we are just involved in Frank Theatre . Every year we go overseas for trainings and shows. In three months, we visited many countries like – Malaysia , London, Switzerland, Chicago , Japan and Nepal.
Q. Since you have traveled many countries and trained many artists, what are the key differences you found while training Nepalese artists and other overseas artists?
Foremost thing is, we are all human beings. We are here to find out similarities not differences. There is of course a language and cultural differences but we have to exercise on it and have to adjust according to the environment. So, for “Macbeth” (by Shakespeare) we are trying to train Nepalese actor as per the Nepalese philosophy. We are introducing the characters in traditional Nepali costumes so they could easily recognize the king and the queen immediately.
Q. What is the storyline of “The Tale of Macbeth”?
There is a king who meets the witches and tells that he will be the “king of kings” which he believes. The witches convince him to kill somebody. Then he goes on killing more and more and eventually destroys as the super natural power seduces him. He suffers from psychological weakness. He is a good man but he becomes bad and finally gets killed.
As it is an international story and audiences are familiar with it, we had to paln to demonstrate this play.
Q. What are the good and bad things about the theatre?
Best thing is, all the time we have other people aside to work with and always surrounded by human beings. The bad thing is that we have to train people to become good actor and find people of strong spirit because there is not so much money in theatre as in film. But that’s part of the process.
Q. What are the things that Nepalese artists should learn from you?
I think its focus, discipline and team work.
Q. How do you find people out here?
People are very nice and warming. We are staying with Nepalese family here and experiencing a very different obsession that we are used to. We have very expensive house than Nepalese standard but we like Nepalese life-style. We are living and working here and enjoying every bit of time. It’s really something different.
Q. How you differentiate theatre art from film art?
Film has close-up and you can sense somebody’s feeling and also have edits and retakes to refine their product. But theatre is more realistic and super live. It’s more energetic and has an instant response of the people. It is easy for us to do a film but it’s very difficult for film actors to act in theatre.
Q. What are your future plans?
We are planning to do co-production with Sarwanam Theatre Group next year. It will be “The Tale of Macbeth” which is western play. May be a year after, we will be doing a Nepalese mythological play. This is just a beginning. For us, it is very important to come back and see more Nepalese culture and also bring something more next time.
Beside Nepal we will probably go to Italy, Chicago and London next year. We may also visit Malaysia as they are showing interest on us and we too want to engage with them.
I have written a book called “Frankly Acting” and is being translated to Nepali language.
We live in Queensland , Australia. We are together since 1975. We have artistic children (Frank children) and now we are with Sarwanam children.
My father is a scientist. I came from scientific family. My mother is physiotherapist and anthropologist, my brother is an engineer and my sister is a chemist. And Jacqui’s father is an artist and architect.
Last message for the Nepalese people
Don’t loose your culture. You must not only be modernized and be a part of the global world but you must also be a city local.
Thanks to Sampada Malla, Sarwanam Theatre, Nepal Tourism Board.