Popcorn, Mangos, Scent of Success

Sat., June 2 –

Opened last night to a small but enthusiastic house.  The enthusiasm, though, was cloaked in Indian discretion.  They stayed aboard, despite their silence for much of the early going.  Bruno didn’t seem to connect the way he did in Tucson.  Tonight might tell us more (was it anomalous, or cultural?).

Improvised transportation. (Click for larger image)

Nevertheless, it has the scent of a successful enterprise.  Hopefully, it will be a lovely end to Jagriti’s first season.

The theater scene in Bangalore is a bit of a surprise.  From what I can tell, it is not as active – and certainly not as well-funded – as the scene in Tucson, despite Bangalore being at least six or seven times bigger than Tucson.  There doesn’t seem to be the tradition of arts philanthropy in India that we enjoy in the States, so Jagriti’s got its work cut out for it.  Government support is not available for English-language theatre either, which further makes life difficult for our friends at Jagriti.

Tue., June 5 –

Jesus flanked by Hindu goddesses (click for larger image)

We just finished a conversation with a representative of the American consulate in Bangalore responsible for cultural exchange, and the Rajas, our hosts.  We spoke at some length about more possibilities for cooperation and collaboration.  It was good to get to talk with them about the places where our cultures meet, and where they are strange to one another.

Spoke more with Anu here in the office at Jagriti.  I learned that India has no government level to speak of below the state level.  No counties or municipalities!  I believe this is a safeguard of sorts from fragmentation, as India is comprised of nearly 30 discreet languages.  It is a wonder that India has managed to remain a contiguous nation at all.  But the lack of local authority must make things terribly difficult.

Patty and David improvise dinner using popcorn and mangos as props. (click for larger image)

Monday was a trip to Commercial Street, a Bangalore tourist destination.  At a massive shop for Karnataka crafts I took a picture of three side-by-side monumental carvings:  Jesus flanked by Hindu goddesses.  A curious image that I couldn’t resist sharing with you.  Along the way we saw a not uncommon means of transport.  Two on a motorcycle, the rear one hanging on to some kind of cargo.  In this case, a stool/ladder.  That evening we improvised our dinner:  popcorn & mangos.  There are moments of reclaimed youth here.  Moments.  My stomach still rebels. . .

— Joe McGrath


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