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Trace is a work in progress received its initial funding from SuperGeographic, a U.S. based Theatre Company in 2021. 

Concept, direction and performance by Manjari Kaul

We stand at a juncture in history where we are picking up pieces from the wreckage caused by a pandemic we try to fathom the ‘new normal’ that we must embrace. As we attempt to understand the new, there is an attempt to carry pieces of the past into the future either as memoirs or things essential for survival in the new world. Trace (working title) is an exploration of spaces, sensations and objects that remain after an event is over. It shall delve into an artistic expression of the struggle to find that which is no more, the absurdity of desire to recreate and re-enact (or copy from the past), circumstances which have ceased to exist. Perhaps this goes further into the question of how that-which-remains-of-what-is-no-more help us heal from past wounds.

As a central point for visual/physical development I wish to work on a contemporary Feminist take on certain myths about surviving near complete annihilation of life on earth. This image of a lone woman on raft, collecting things she would like to take with her into the new world shall be the nodal point to develop a physical language, musical score as well as narrative for the piece.

Further, I wish to develop choreography that involves imagery of a body collecting remains from the past to carry into the future. How do we decide what to take with us and what to leave behind? What is this list of essentials based on? Is it based on the same logic as that of The Singapore Sunday Times that conducted during the pandemic to determine the jobs that people perceive to be essential? (Artist stopped the list with 71% of non-essentialness.) How do we redefine “essential” and carry forward stories of compassion and resistance from the past? What of the past, whether painful or joyous, is going to help us on the path of healing? How do our bodies carry faith and compassion while we might still be grieving? How does rage manifest itself in the body and how important is it to carry it alongside hope for a more equitable and just future?

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