Lighting Spaces Dark
Rebelling against his parents’ no-frills theatre, Sangeet Natak Akademi award winning lighting designer, Gyandev Singh, talks about how he oscillates between modern plays and classical dance productions
Sitting in his theatre practitioners parent’s GS Channi and Harleen's house in Chandigarh, lighting designer Gyandev Singh, laments that he seldom gets the opportunity to cycle in Delhi, so he makes the best of it when here. “Even when the heat is relentless,” he manages to say between large gulps of water. One of the most promising lighting artists in the country, this Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee (2014) says that conservative dance troupes in the Southern part of the country have adopted “this Sardarji who loves gulab-jamuns.” For a long time, the conversation with this National School of Drama (NSD) graduate (2006) in stage design and technique does not even go close to theatre.
While his mother serves tea, he admits that all years spent in that household where street theatre and contentcentric productions sans elements like costumes, lights and music were the topic of debates even on the dining table, he developed a strange urge to find out the ‘other theatre’. “It was my own little act of rebellion. The years spent at the NSD opened my eyes to different dimensions of this art form. My parents never discouraged me from finding out the side they never delved in. That I feel is the greatest gift they have given me,” the 35-year-old looks at Harleen.
While he gets set to design lights for Anjaneyam by Apsara Arts, a three-
DESIGNED LIGHTS FOR
Theatre directors Ram Gopal Bajaj, M.K Raina, Anuradha Kapur, Abhilaash Pilai, Roysten Abel, Mohan Maharishi, Robin Das, Lushin Dubey and Vivek Mansukhani Akram Khan dance company, London Ashley Lobo Aditi Mangaldas Leela Samson Madhavi Mudhgal and Arushi Mudhgal. Malavika Sarrukai. Kumudini Lakhya and Sanjukta Sinha. Puppet performances of Varun Narayan And Dadi Padamji . Music Bands including Menwhopause and The Music Circle, Them Clones and Adveta hour show at Esplanade Theatre in Singapore this August, where 200 Indian and Indonesian dancers will come together for a three-hour show, Singh is also working to light up Malavika Sarukai’s Tharvi, which has been conceptualised with Kanjeevaram sarees.
Trained under Ashok Bhagat at the NSD, where he learnt to define and redefine areas of performance spaces with his lights, lending a sub-text to the narrative, the lighting designer admits that working with artists down South where guru-shishya is still reigns supreme, has been an experience to cherish. “I was an outsider. The way they accepted me in their traditional mould and were receptive to some of the most experimental ideas in lighting is most interesting. The contrast between modern Indian theatre and the still traditional ways of classical dance has surely lent a peculiar dimension to my work,” adds the lighting director for 2012 Edinburg International Festival, UK.