Unlike an art exhibition where the artist obliterates the curator, Readings in the Shed foregrounds the act of curating as an art. Thus: Letters of Love by Himali and Nikhil. A performative reading of letters by 7 couples from across time and culture invoked by modern day Cupid for the purpose of qualitative research served as subtle criticism of the data-driven dating apps of today. When actors read from the scripts on stage, directing for the stage takes an all-new nuance- to choreograph the almost unnoticeable shifts in character positions and postures, the non-intrusive use of prop and sound and the range of voice variations. Kudos, the H&N duo! The craft apart, here are three of my favourite sentimental takeaways:
Love is Formless: “I was not free to give myself” echoes the angst from one of Rabindranath Tagore’s love letters to the Argentenian lover Victoria Ocampo. An artist’s higher mission clashes with his emotions of love that resign in the gifted armchair rather than the arms of the lover.
Love is Philosophy: Jean Paul Sartre’s Existential advice against “bad faith” is followed to its core by his feminist lover Simone De Beauvoir. The freedom of choice replaces marital contract and conjugal rights with the Transparency Act.
Love is Survival: The man of reason Carl Sagan rages on when in “the vastness of space and the immensity of time”, he finds love. Mortal and temporal but indispensable for survival. The miracle of love is the true manifestation of the cosmos.