by Ranga Shankara and Figurentheater Wilde & Vogel

Wilde&Vogel Figurenthear © Michał Strokowski

Puppet theatre, particularly, in India, has most commonly been associated with children, with puppets taking the role of mere toys to be played with. Children learn, and adults too, with puppets to form ideas of the physical and moral through their senses. Puppets become voices, metaphors and agents for ideas rooted in political discourse, and maybe more importantly, they are reminders that the act of 'playing' is not reserved for children.

TILL - LET'S PLAY PUPPETS TOGETHER: A PUPPET PROJECT FOR GROWN-UPS! is a theatrical adaptation of the German folk tale - Till Eulenspiegel. The story of Till masterfully weaves the fates of many characters into this enchanting work of magical realism and adventure. His journey takes him, also the audience, through the regions ravaged by the Thirty Years' War.

TILL is a magnificent story of an artist's transcendence over the petty superstitions, convenient  betrayals and widespread brutality of his time. TILL uses magical realism to offer an implicit critique of society, most notable politics and the elite. The pandemic that ravaged and is still ravaging the globe, the wars that are destroying cultures and countries give an immediacy to the life and journey of Till, however magical realism it may be.

TILL has been conceptualised by Bangalore-based artist Surendranath Subbanna, in collaboration with Charlotte Wilde and Michael Vogel from Germany.

Puppeteers: Gagan Kumar, Sharath Gowda, Shravana Heggodu, Soumya Bhagwat   
Dramaturg and Music Design: Charlotte Wilde
Design and Direction: Michael Vogel
Musician: Vivek Govindaraja
Lights: Michael Vogel and Surendranath
Production: Sharath Gowda

Language: Kannada
Duration: 60 min.
Age: Puppet for grown-ups, but children above 8 years are also welcome.

Surendranath Subbanna, an alumnus of the National School of Drama is one of the leading directors of modern Indian theatre, working mainly in Kannada. Having written/adapted and directed a number of plays, he is one of the most prolific playwrights and directors in Kannada. He has adapted many classics from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Brecht to Max Frisch to Chekov. He has also directed a number of plays for his company Sanket Trust.

He was the Artistic Director of Ranga Shankara for eight years, during which time he wrote and directed plays for children – Gumma Banda Gumma (a Grips play in Kannada with actors), Circle of Life (a devised puppet play), Old Man And The Sea (a puppet play for children based on the novella by Ernest Hemingway). He has also been the dramaturg for a puppet production of Chippi, the Chipkali, directed by Gertrude Tröbinger. He has represented Ranga Shankara in a number of theatre festivals, both for children and grownups, across the world.

TILL has been developed by Ranga Shankara (Bangalore) and Figurentheater Wilde & Vogel (Leipzig, Germany) with the support of the International Coproduction Fund of the Goethe-Institut

TILL will premier in Bangalore on August 8, 2023 and in Germany on September 15, 2023.

RS - foyer © Mallik Ranga Shankara, a theatre space and production house in Bangalore is run by The Sanket Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2004. Ranga Shankara is perhaps one of the few spaces in India dedicated to theatre. Ranga Shankara has worked toward taking forward a noble vision of commitment to the art of theatre, to the cultural fabric of India, and to her people. For the past 18 years it has stood by its philosophy of ‘a-show-a-day’, and has brought to the city a wholesome feast of local and international theatre to awaken and thrill the senses.

 Wilde&Vogel Figurentheater © Michał Strokowski Wilde & Vogel, one of Germany's most renowned puppet theatre companies, has travelled across South India twice on tour (1999 and 2001), where they met with Indian art practices (dance, theatre, puppetry) for the first time. Since then, intrigued by the richness and colour of Indian performing arts, they hoped to be able to come back not only to show their own work but to collaborate with Indian artists.

Their work, which includes productions for adults and children alike, always has a strong visual and musical basis, the text (from poetry to drama to prose) being sometimes a very small part of the performance. Authenticity is a strong centre of their artistic search, this implies a few methods and beliefs in how to approach a
theatre project.