What do we do with memories, especially ones that are not happy? Do we block them or face them? Visual Respiration, a performing arts organization spearheaded by artistic director Aruna Ganesh Ram, is staging A Moment Of Memory, an experiential theatre performance that explores the effects of certain events in one’s life—using memory as the foundation of the performance.

Four actors will enact a personal experience from their lives using gesture, movement, text and verse, taking the audience through a journey they might identify with.

“We held a workshop last year in August which was primarily devised to look at original story ideas. What we wanted to do was figure out what it means to create experiences from true stories," says Ram. A theatre person for 15 years, Ram has a master’s degree in advanced theatre practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK.

She says: “At the end of the workshop, what we had were just a few lines and a few images. We kind of let it be at the time, and two months later got back together to work on it in detail; this gave shape to A Moment Of Memory."

All four acts, of 14 minutes each, are women-centric—something Ram never planned. The actors who will share their stories are Priyam Jain, Rohini Mundra, Samridhi Purohit and Abhishek Mishra.

“We weren’t even particular about working with memories, but that is what it eventually became. The stories are about dealing with domestic violence, a woman battling with cancer, and some intensely personal stories," Ram explains. Mishra’s story is about his mother.

But it’s not just the stories that make this performance unusual. A specialist in immersive theatre, Ram explains that the audience will be limited to 10-15, and will be engaged throughout the performance via senses of smell, taste, feel, sight, and sound, apart from being able contribute to the whole presentation. “It’s a promenade theatre piece where the audience can participate, if they want of course. One, they will move from one space to another within the venue to experience these four stories. And two, they can share their stories as well—this can be done either verbally or in the form of text. However, we do understand that not many will be open to the idea of talking about something that personal."

The crux of the presentation is to bring to the fore the everyday experiences women go through, from the mundane to the grave—and how they deal with them. “For us, the piece is about achieving things at multiple levels. The performance opens up a space for reflection—an opportunity for the audience to connect with the stories that are being presented. We also expect it to give hope and personal courage to those who might have gone through similar incidents in life; it gives us a sense of liberation, within a theatrical space," says Ram.

A Moment Of Memory will be staged from 9-11 January, at Atta Galatta, 134, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala (41600677). Timings vary. Tickets, 250, available at the venue and onin.bookmyshow.com

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