Riḥla (رحلة / रिहृला)

Riḥla (رحلة / रिहृला) is an adaptation of Andreas Flourakis’ award-winning play I Want A Country. A crisis in a nameless country brings about a demand for change. A group of young rebels seek to chart out a course for a ‘new country’, a new identity, fresh values, a space to feel safe within … They argue and fight, they mock and educate each other, they reveal their dreams, fears and secrets. Their quest to define a new world is a voyage into some great unknown: to a place they can only imagine and covering a distance they cannot fully conceive. It is also a leap of faith, for them and for us. At the very least, they will arrive to tell the tale.

Facing the ruin of their nameless nation, the characters in Riḥla set off to find a new country— struggling over their ideas of nationhood and identity, with the state of politics and the economy, and over their understanding of empathy and welfare. Through all of this and their quest to define a new world, one question emerges: is there a dream country after all? Can a society re-invent itself or will it forever remain an impossible dream?

We are surrounded by media and intellectual dialogue on these subjects, always seeking to be the final word which too often sounds like a knell. Our core group hopes to create a space where these questions can be experienced emotionally— this play is active and alert without being stubborn; it is angry but can find catharsis in debate. It is performed by young actors, the very generation faced with the critical questions of this play, who face their predicament with both urgency and light-footedness.

As we began reading the script and looking at the characters in Riḥla, we could either say, “these people are doomed”, or we could ask the question, “how will they find their way out of this?”. As arts practitioners and citizens, we are more excited by this narrative because a question is almost always more beautiful than a statement.This approach seemed more hopeful—it suggested that we could not agree on everything, that our wisdom and experience is not enough and that the story was yet to unfold for these characters. This is how we will proceed with the performance before our audiences in Delhi this November.

1st November to 24th November’19

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

BLACK BOX OKHLA, A68, PHASE 2, OKHLA INDUSTRIAL AREA

6th Nov’19 | 7:30 PM |

Wednesday

RANGASHANKARA, 36/2 8th CROSS II PHASE, J P NAGAR, BANGALORE

The performance is part of PROJECT RIḤLA – a theatre-based outreach initiative where we facilitate a pre-show and post-show dialogue with young audiences around identity, belonging, citizenship and the idea of a ‘Country’. As we navigate a period where what it means to be a citizen is being redefined, we explore with young people the world they imagine for tomorrow, and how to make it a reality. What are their stories around belonging and the world they want to live in?

We are holding pre-show & post-show workshops for at least 300 young people by November 2019, and also inviting them to watch the show at subsidized ticket prices. We are raising funds to make the play as well as this larger process of dialogue possible for young audiences. 

To tell this story in current times becomes all the more important, as we navigate a period where what it means to be a citizen of India is being redefined.

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