The legendary, Jean Jacques Lemêtre, music director of Le Théâtre du Soleil had recently come to the city to conduct a workshop entitled “The Musical Body” from 16th to 18th January, 2015, organized by The Arshinagar Project in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and The Alliance Francaise du Bengale. On 16th January, 2015, the noted composer gave a lecture on the development and methodology of Le Théâtre du Soleil where Dr. Sudipto Chatterjee, acclaimed Indian performance scholar, actor, playwright and poet was the discussant.
The workshop dealt with the innate rhythmic quality of the human body and how that can be transformed and utilized to create stage presence. Basic exercises such as different rhythms of walking and maintaining beats on different parts of the body were carried out by the participants who ranged from actors to academicians. The exercises were aimed at connecting oneself to one’s body by sensing the rhythm and flow within.
The 3 day workshop concluded with a presentation where Jean Jacques spoke about the use of music in theatres. In a movie, the soundtrack is a finished product which eliminates the necessity of adding anything extra to it but in a theatre the musical instrument itself becomes a character creating a more intimate connection between the music and the actors. He showed with examples how a change in the volume of the orchestra creates an illusion of change in the volume of the actor even though the actor speaks at the same volume throughout the scene.
In the Q&A round Devesh Verma, a senior marketing manager based in Kolkata, enquired about the use of music in advertisements to which Jean Jacques replied that advertisements use music to ‘attract’ whereas theatre uses music to ‘give’. “I’ve brought my knowledge here but at the same time I’ve observed, listened and learnt lots of new things and I will take this new knowledge back with me and use it to create something new”, signed off the captivating gentleman from France.