A 23-year-old actor from Kolkata is the only Indian in an international ensemble cast of a unique immersive theatre experience which is attracting rave reviews in London.
Ninad Samaddar, who recently completed a Master’s course in acting at Central Saint Martins in London, takes audiences on an unusual tour around the British capital as part of ‘The Curious Voyage’.
The murder mystery meets treasure hunt performance, complete with a surprise musical, is created as a cross-continental experience, which began in Barrie, Canada, and concludes in London on November 10.
“This play is a promenade immersive experience, which essentially means that the stage is not a particular building but a given area such as a town, city or neighbourhood,” explains Samaddar.
“This play is designed to be a three-day immersive experience for a Canadian audience.
The last day is set in London, thus open to a one-day London immersive experience for Londoners. The audience are requested to participate in a lot of activities and truly the beauty of the piece lies in audience involvement,” he said.
‘The Curious Voyage’, written, created and directed by Italian artist and playwright Daniele Bartolini, relies on a lot of improvisation and Samaddar feels his Indian sensibility added an additional perspective to the performance.
“I think I was able to provide a unique perspective to this play as I realised my head works in a very different way in comparison here, hence speaking my ideas out loud proved to be quite helpful when it was needed,” he said.
During a death scene, he suggested leading the funeral procession with the Indian chant of ‘Ram Naam Satya Hain’.
But while that proved unfeasible due to the cold weather, it opened other possibilities to execute the procession.
“Being around different people in a city like London, which comprises a small population of almost every part of the world, I can see myself through a different lens. It is amazing to recognise the different approaches I have to offer and it always came through in all the characters I’ve played,” said the actor, who began his creative journey in school and then went on for Theatre Studies at Christ University, Bangalore.
He was selected for the course in London last year and his ultimate goal is to gain enough experience to set up a theatre school in India.
“My big dream that pushed me into this world has been to be a founder of a school of theatre in India. I know, it’s a big expensive dream, but I intend to become a personality that is hardworking, inspirational and revolutionary in order to execute that dream,” he said.
Meanwhile, he hopes the immersive theatre experience with The Curious Voyage’ will strike a chord with audiences and lead to more multicultural projects in future.