A play in Hindi/Bhojpuri with subtitles
#supernova, is the story of a young boy who is trafficked from eastern Uttar Pradesh in North India, and sold in Dubai. His online profile ‘#supernova’, suggests to his clientele that he is a good performer in the sex trade.
As his online profile and persona become significant to buyers and sellers, thereby reducing any chances of his return, his father gives up looking for him and a new client falls in love with him.
Based around the ethical and moral questions that trafficking and technology pose today, #supernova is a play in Bhojpuri and Hindi that examines how we live in a world where everything is available at one’s fingertips. Literally everything.
Written by Rahul Rai
Designed and directed by Abhishek Majumdar
Performed by Avneesh Mishra and Sandeep Shikhar
Research and Interactive Technology: Vandana Menon
Assistant Directors: Karen D’Mello and Venkatesh Prasad
Direction Intern: Tanvi Shah
Sound Designer: Nikhil Nagaraj
Production Manager: Saatvika Kantamneni
Producer: Vivek Madan
The Human Trade Network commissioned four plays from theatre companies in Burkina Faso, Germany, Romania and India, to revolve around the theme of Human Trafficking.
As the Indian Company chosen to create this work, Indian Ensemble settled on the topic of child trafficking in India, an issue that is not talked about enough here as well as abroad.
The play centres around two men – the boy’s father and the man who ultimately buys the boy’s services – but also involves the audience through technology. Audience members will be equipped with a mobile phone or a device that enables them to interact with the characters in the play. This aims to show that while being ‘connected’ and ‘present’ all the time and everywhere, we are also silent, absent and therefore complicit in activities that we would not overtly support or condone.
Current performance dates:
June 3 and 4 – Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore
June 21 – Theatre Freiburg, Germany
About Rahul Rai
Rahul is a poet, playwright, director and lighting designer. He has worked with theatre groups such as The Players, Yatrik in Delhi, and Motley in Mumbai. He is the Co-founder of T for Theatre.
He is an editor and contributor to Kachhikavita – an online journal of poetry in Hindi. He has worked as an Associate Director for the Acclaimed Documentary film Izzatnagari ki Asabhya Betiyan directed by Nakul Singh Sawhney.
His plays include Kaali Ghadi, Shoony Batta Sannata, Daalmot and Virah. His most recent play Outer Dilli for Writers’ Bloc 4 opened in Mumbai in April 2016.
About Abhishek Majumdar
Abhishek Majumdar is a playwright and theatre director and educator with numerous plays and accolades to his credit. In 2009, he started Indian Ensemble with Sandeep Shikhar, with the aim of creating an open multi-lingual theatre company which would produce and support theatre work. Through plays, he continues to tell tales of contemporary society, culture and politics.
In the ensuing years, he has written plays like Harlesden High Street (winner of the Metroplus Playwright’s Award), Djinns of Eidgah (produced by the Royal Court Theatre) Kaumudi.He has directed Treadmill by Sandeep Shikhar, Gasha by Irawati Karnik and also his own plays, Kaumudi and Thook. He holds a Master’s degree in theatre from LISPA (London) and was conferred the Shankar Nag Theatre Award by Ranga Shankara (Bengaluru) in 2014. He had received an earlier grant from IFA in 2015 for a theatre workshop.
About Indian Ensemble
Indian Ensemble, a Bangalore based theatre group, was started in 2009 by Abhishek Majumdar and Sandeep Shikhar. The group has performed several shows to great acclaim in India and abroad, including Sandeep Shikhar’s ‘Treadmill’, Irawati Karnik’s ‘Gasha’ and Abhishek Majumdar’s ‘Kaumudi’ and ‘Thook’. Apart from producing a dozen plays in the last seven years, Indian Ensemble also devotes a large part of its attention to the training and developing of new and young talents in the theatre through various residencies and training and internship programmes.
About the Human Trade Network
The HUMAN TRADE NETWORK is an experimental setting for a global theatre to respond to globally connected topics and contexts. In this case, four theatres on three continents work together to research from different angles and various perspectives on the topic of human trafficking and work exploitation, or put more broadly: how human beings are being sold and bought. The partners involved – the Indian Ensemble Bangalore (India) with Abhishek Majumdar, the German Theatre in Sibiu (Romania) with Gianina Carbunariu, the Théâtr’Evasion from Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) with Ildevert Mehda and Luca Fusi, and Theater Freiburg (Germany) with Julia Reichert and Clemens Bechtel – will conduct a networking research in Africa, Asia and Europe. The partners work in tandem (Germany-Romania/ India-Burkina Faso) and support each other in the research.
The HUMAN TRADE NETWORK is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Romanian Cultural Institute Berlin.
About the Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan
The Goethe-Institut (known in India as the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan) is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural arm, operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. This includes the exchange of films, music, theatre and literature.
The Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore engages with pressing societal issues, while fostering Indo-German cultural exchange and supporting the local art scene. In this context, the #supernova project by Indian Ensemble, a long-standing theatre partner, promises to be a worthwhile and significant contribution to the much-needed global discussion on the widely prevalent evil of child trafficking. Addressing the issue from a dramatic perspective, including the role of technology, adds an interesting contemporary dimension, that is likely to make an impact not only in Bangalore and Freiburg, but way beyond.