T.T. Srinath
T.T. Srinath ttsrinath@gmail.com

An organisational and behavioural consultant. I am a qualified sensitivity trainer, qualified with the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Science, the Indian arm of NTL, USA.

T.T. Srinath

What culture and art can teach organisations

TT Srinath | Updated on March 19, 2020

The oldest English theatre company in India, The Madras players, an amateur theatre company, now in its 65th year of uninterrupted existence has been invited by several cultural organisations in the United States of America and Canada to bring and stage for them their recent and successfully running play 'Trinity.' 

The cast, that has been part of the ensemble in Chennai and other cities where the play has been performed, numbers 19. To take such a large cast overseas is an expensive proposition. 

The challenge has been therefore to take the play without compromise, yet whittle the cast to a much smaller number. 

Faced with this challenge, the Director of the Play, P.C. Ramakrishna, himself a veteran theatre person, had to think out of and beyond the 'box'. 

Each character in the story is significant and therefore deleting a role would lessen the impact of the total performance and therefore the experience for a viewing audience. 

PC, as he is known in theatre circles, decided to give the play a 'local complexion yet with an Indian feel'; the play being set in 18th century rural South India. 

He collaborated with the sponsors overseas, suggested and requested that they source and ask those of Indian origin, who were either learning Carnatic music, the play being about the 3 eminent composers of the 18th century from South India, and those who were learning or were dancers, to offer themselves for the roles he thought could be sought from elsewhere. 

The sponsors found the thought novel and also realised that several persons of Indian origin though not Indian citizens could be given a first time experience by appreciating Indian art and culture from a participative and immersion involvement. 

Technology became a powerful aid and using an interactive Skype process actors from India and those from overseas, through virtual contact, developed their roles and interaction. 

The result is a fine blend of local talent and imported performers, coming together in seamless fashion to act out a play conceived, curated and developed online. 

The lessons available to organisations, especially those that have in its employ persons from different geographies and scattered locations, is to use a tool as drama to build chemistry between them, in an effort where: 

Including local persons in an international effort also helps in community building. 

Organisations will be helped if they explore such a process of bringing together a polyglot set of its employees and including them in a way that feel belonged and embraced. 

The folk tale of the Parsi community in India, the manner they were included and included themselves when they first set foot on Indian shores is surely worth recounting. 

When the first immigrants from Persia, it is believed, landed in Kutch, India, they sought asylum from the king. 

When asked by the king 'how their inclusion' with the local community would add value', the 'Parsees' were purported to have said, 'we will blend into your community, as sugar in milk. We will enhance the taste of milk'. 

The fact and their contribution to the building and growth of India can never be denied. 

(The writer is an organisational and behavioural consultant. He can be contacted at ttsrinath@gmail.com)

Published on March 19, 2020

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