Theatre Interview: Theatron Co-founder Suraj Parasnis shares his artistic journey

Theatron Entertainment is a name to reckon with in Pune and Mumbai. Their plays verge on Experimental, Gothic, Horror and Mime. "The Case of Mistaken Identity” by theatron entertainment would be the first Indian script on Sherlock Holmes on stage.

He is the co-founder of Theatron Entertainment which has maintained consistency of producing beautiful- award- winning plays in many prestigious theatre competitions. Rasa Aur Drama has a short conversation with this young director who turns 26 today. We wish him many many happy returns of the day and may he achieve heights and get best of all.

Rasa Aur Drama: We would love to know about your interest in theater. Do tell us about your journey?

Suraj Parasnis: When I was in the 6th standard in school, a famous solo performance of my time ‘Varhad Nighalay Londonla ‘ written by Dr Laxmanrao Deshpande was being performed in my colony (by one of his followers.) I started recalling complete dialogues of that drama when I came home, I don't know how. I enjoyed it so much. My father noticed it and bought an audio cassette of it and I self directed it. I attended a workshop of Natya Sanskar conducted by Prakash Parkhi Sir (In the summer vacations ) and this is how I came into theatre.

Q2.) When did you form Theatron entertainment and chose the name ?

SP: We (a few friends) established Theatron entertainment in 2011. Some of my friends with whom I was doing plays , we matched in the wavelength so much. So, we started working together. Everyone wanted a platform, it became necessary to work under a banner and we formed Theatron. The meaning of the word Theatron is where we practice theatre. I am direction oriented and a director spends time in the practice sessions. Every individual who comes to us gets developed in a practice session and so the name Theatron emerged.

Q 3.) Can you tell Rasa Aur Drama about your inspiration ?

SP: Lots of people inspire me and I don't have any specific name in mind. The audience who meet me after a play and the appreciation or criticism. I have a lot of influence if you may say of Rajkumar Hirani.

Q 4.) For every artist his every work is special but which is your favorite creative passion?

SP: Yes,it is true that every creation is special as every creation process needs a lot of effort. The process of building a drama is like a mother who nurtures her child. There are so many names in my mind but "Patient" and "Anathema" are plays which are especial to me right now.

Q 5.) Most of the directors or writers have a specific genre in their work but when it comes to Suraj Parasnis his every work is different,unique and a deep emotional level too. How do you maintain this uniqueness?

SP: It's a good question. I don't like to work on the same genre and I like handling new genres, so I keep trying something new. Every new genre has it's own beauty and I am exploring new ones. The uniqueness is maintained as I choose plays which I feel I will go and watch at the theatre. It is a very simple logic. Good team members have also given me inputs from the technical aspects as well. For building drama respecting each other and respecting each others opinion also plays an important role.

Q 6.) How did you come up with idea of play Anathema, a horror comedy ?

SP: The idea came when Virajas Kulkarni was about to leave India. We were showcasing our play W Want Charlie; which was also our first play. Virajas used to perform Charlie Chaplin. One day after the show we were talking of doing something and we started telling horror stories to one another. We realized no-one dared to do horror stories on stage. Virajas said he will write something and he wrote the first scene when he was at the airport. It was the time when social media was not much used. After reading the first scene I was scared. It took us 7-8 months to craft Anathema. When the whole process of directing got over, I realized it was a horror comedy.

Q 7.) Can you share a memory which touched your heart ?

SP: After the performance of our play Patient, a person came to me and he had satisfaction and patience in his eyes. He said he was sitting next to a patient and was listening what he was saying.

Another small child was crying because the patient was dead. I had to call the lead actor to make him believe that the patient is not dead. I had to tell him it is a play and not truth. Kabbadi Uncut, a play where we used real waste was showcased at Prithvi theatre, Juhu. Two foreigners came to meet me after the show and they appreciated the performance. I asked them if they understood it? They said they had seen plays in many countries and they understood every frame. Their answer moved me.

Q 8.) What does direction mean to you?

SP: Direction is like meditation to me. I forget myself and enjoy it. It is responsibility with fun.

Q 9. ) Tell Rasa Aur Drama Theatre about your production process?

SP: I feel content is king. What you present comes first and then how you present it. I keep asking myself, do I like the content ? Does it excite me ? Direction is all about storytelling and I like stories.

I purposely direct plays of people who belong to the same group of mine. I don't feel I have reached a level where I can direct plays written by people who are older than me.

Before starting any direction, I conduct a workshop so all get established and once all get mixed up so it becomes easy to get your output. Direction is a responsibility; writer has hopes from you, actors trust you, and resource and time is used so I do proper planning. I hate wasting time, I see the urge of the artist and the consistency. Also, I need a technically sound team. You get good output only after a lot of effort.

Q 10.) Few words for budding writers actors and directors?

SP: Interesting audience is being generated, different kind of experiments are being done in theatre and writers should also write something different. Everyone feels they write different but is writing really different ? He should judge himself. You should trust your team members and trust yourself; never underestimate anyone. Because its all group efforts which makes you successful and you should never underestimate anyone. Keep trying different forms, accept new challenges, be open, this is what I can say.

Thanks Suraj for chatting with Rasa Aur Drama. We would want to see more and more plays of Theatron.

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