Nandita Dinesh reads from Theatre & War at Teatro Paraguas
Stages of unrest
Nandita Dinesh is a faculty member at the United World College’s Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict in Montezuma, New Mexico, where her area of teaching and research is theater in war and conflict zones. She believes that peace and communication can be fostered via theatrical exercises and performances that give voice to the daily struggles, alienation, and hopes of populations affected by the continual threat of violence. Her recent book Theatre and War: Notes from the Field (Open Book Publishers), an ethnographic study of her efforts in Northern Ireland, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Nagaland, and Kashmir — meant especially for those interested in this work — includes information on her successes and failures in using community theater as a tool for social justice.
Dinesh began performing in local productions as a child and majored in theater as an undergraduate. Her interest in theater in conflict zones was stimulated in 2005 during a three-month studyabroad program in northern Uganda, a location she did not realize was at war until she arrived — ignorance she somewhat shamefully attributes to youthful naiveté. Her status as an outsider coming in to do good works is what led her to include herself in the narrative of Theatre and War, rather than erasing her own subjectivity from her accounts, because “the ‘I’ has been an unavoidable component in my attempts to unravel the complexities of researching and practicing theater in times and places of war,” she writes. She is aware that she is able to leave a war zone when it gets too dangerous, whereas many of the actors she works with do not.
Dinesh reads from Theatre and War in a free presentation at Teatro Paraguas Studios (3205 Calle Marie, 505-424-1601) on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m. — J.L.