Twenty years since his initiation into Nepali theater as a young boy from Pokhara, actor/director Anoop Baral still sees numerous loopholes in the local scene today, which he wishes to address. “There is a need of a proper forum for theater practitioners in Nepal to help them enhance their creative skills and receive some sort of formal training in the art,” he explains. It was for this reason that he established the Actor’s Studio a couple of years ago, with ample backing from the veterans of the Naga Theatre at Hotel Vajra in Swoyambhu. Currently, in collaboration with the Pratiwimba Theatre Laboratory, the Studio has introduced an intensive three-month course in acting for all would-be artistes and performers.
A graduate from the National School of Drama in Delhi himself, Anoop remembers his time there as a simultaneous expansion of his creative boundaries and his technical skills as an actor. But it wasn’t enough; he still longed to come back home, because he felt he could identify more with the elements and pace of Nepali theater. “Regardless of where you go, it is ultimately in your own roots that you find the true essence of who you are,” he says. And though the scene was sparse when he arrived, he never lost hope, and was soon collaborating with seasoned performers and progressive dramatists on various projects, which eventually led him to the Studio.
“We call it ‘Theater in Education’,” states Ufaan, the executive director. “It is an interdisciplinary approach; we want the students to achieve an all-round development of the personality and not merely confine themselves to any particular aspect of theater,” he adds. The lack of a concrete syllabus only enforces the environment of spontaneity and allows room for imaginative digression. Two small demonstrations will be held in the first two months and a concluding production at the end, which will be performed in public. The next session, at NRs 15,000/- for the entire three-month course, is set to begin some time in December. With classes on yoga, music, dance, painting and literature among others, taught by professionals and experts on the subject, the dynamism of the Studio couldn’t be more apparent.
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