Gaggan Mudgal brings #HomeTheatre to Dubai

Gaggan Mudgal brings #HomeTheatre to Dubai

The Dubai media personality's latest venture will see a whole performance team turning up wherever you wish to put on their works

By David Light

Published: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 10:31 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2019, 11:22 AM

Never have time to make it out to the theatre? What about if the production could come to you? This is the thinking behind Dubai media personality Gaggan Mudgal's latest venture #HomeTheatre. With his initiative the whole performance team - kit and caboodle - will turn up wherever you wish them to put on their assorted works. And guess what? We loved the idea so much, the Khaleej Times office is hosting a show of theirs, Park, this evening at 6pm. We spoke to Mudgal to find out more. 
How would you describe the #HomeTheatre concept?
I have been associated with theatre for more than 20 years now: acting, writing and direction. Over the years, I thought theatre should not just be restricted to a stage in an auditorium. I also wanted to break the notion that theatre is just for a few people in society. There are people out there who would love to experience art and performances but never had the inclination to go to an auditorium. Also, in this age when entertainment is more virtual than real, I felt responsible to not allow live performances disappear.
So just like that, Home Theatre as the name suggests, is a unique concept where we take the stage to people's homes. Theatre enthusiasts invite us to perform in their backyard. Whether it is a play performance, poetry reading session or a musical rendition, the experience so far has been very encouraging. People can connect with me through my social media pages if they want to join the group or if they want us to come and perform.
Tell us more about Saturday's play, Park. What can people expect and is it similar to anything people have seen before?
Park is an original written by the famous Indian actor and Bollywood star- Manav Kaul. I personally love the script and the concept that very simply yet beautifully describes how human beings overreact to normal situations just because they are engulfed by layers of emotions in their hearts. It is the complexity behind a simple script that attracted me to direct it and perform here in Dubai. It is a story that will leave you thinking.
Were there any challenges in directing the piece? How have you maximised the casts' performances?
It is always a challenge to frame a picture in your style when a great artist has penned it. But it is a challenge I took very happily. My co-artistes are a bunch of very talented people, each one with a vast theatre experience. I feel showing them the path and yet giving them a free hand to explore their characters in their own style works best.
What are your thoughts on Dubai's theatre scene overall? Do you think enough emphasis is put on the arts?
Dubai is full of some very artistic people who are very passionate about theatre, performers and audiences alike. But we don't have enough platforms to perform. There is always room for more awareness. People need to come out and support theatre by paying for the tickets and respecting talent.
Local plays appear to heavily rely on sponsorship, what are the benefits of being a performance's sponsor?
As they say, talent alone is not enough to promote art, having a sponsor on board always helps. As artistes, it takes the burden off us for promotion and awareness and the sponsors benefit from all the exposure they get from the footfall that we receive at our events.
What are some of your favourite plays and from where do you get your directing inspiration?
The list of plays is long, but some of my favourites include Aashaadh ka ek din, Aadhe Adhoorey, Piya Behrupiya, All the Best, all Motley plays by Naseeruddin Shah, plays written by Anwar Maqsood; The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare is also a personal favourite.
There are some not so popular but brilliant plays from the National School of Drama that have left an everlasting impression on my mind. I feel observation is the key to look at everything from a different angle. I am constantly observing people and situations. A good film or a random person walking down the road could inspire me equally.
What else can we look forward to from #HomeTheatre?
Home Theatre is not just restricted to play performances. I intend to make more of the ambience of people's home with poetry reading sessions, live musical performances and interactive talk sessions based on art to maximise the experience in the tranquility of their own home.
Park is being performed at the Khaleej Times office in Al Quoz tonight at 6pm. Seating is by invite only. Mail or call 04 405 0801 to attend. 

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