<     >     <<
Friday March 15 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min) De Brakke Grond | Grote Zaal
Jean Paul Sartre in his exposition on the nature of collective formation distinguishes the ‘series’ from the ‘group’. He argues that the group unlike the series, is the instrumentation of a common aim, comparable to one’s body  (Sartre denies any organic idealism) – it  is the  end  as well  as  the means. The  group project is  ‘tearing  away man  from  the  status  of alterity  which  makes of him a product  of his  product, to transform  him...into a product of the  group, that is  to  say – so  long as  the  group is  freedom – into his own  product’. However this metaphorical sense of freedom that one experiences as constituting the body of a group is in the twenty first century seeing a challenge that transforms the very nature of being of not only the group but also the individual that constitutes the group. The activist-artist now argues s/he has a life. Borrowing from life narratives of two theatre groups instituted with a common aim ‘The Freedom Theatre’ in Jenin, Palestine and ‘Jana Natya Manch’ in New Delhi, India, this paper looks at the changing contours of the Sartean group, its smallest unit the ‘groupuscule’ to be precise. The paper also speculates on the possible shapes the ‘groupuscule’ is now taking considering a few instances of creative encounters.

Sharmistha Saha is a theatre scholar and practitioner based in Mumbai. She completed her PhD and postdoctoral studies from Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany and later joined the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai as faculty. She is currently the Asia Art Archive Inlaks Art Grantee. Her recent book published by Aakar/Springer is called ‘Theatre and National Identity in Colonial India: Formation of a community through cultural practice
<     >     <<