Clerke and Joy: theatre, storytelling and Mumbai

On 3rd December 2013 theatre duo Clerke and Joy traveled to Mumbai, India for twenty days of leading workshops, attending performances and doing research for a new project. The Stillness Of The Storm That Never Came At All is the create product of this journey to a country famed as much for its vastness and beauty as it is for its vibrancy and bustle. We caught up with Rachael Clerke and Josephine Joy to find out more about their adventure.

What is the show about?
At the moment it’s about India, specifically Mumbai, and about arriving in a new city. The eventual full version of the show will be about more, and about more cities. We want it to happen in three cities from different parts of the world. We’re not sure we’re going to be able to convince enough people that we need to travel the world on artist residencies though…

How, when and why did the company make the decision to tackle this story?
We have just got back from running workshops supported by the British Council at a theatre festival for under 25’s called Thespo in Mumbai. During our stay we also ran a residency to start creating a show which we will premiere at the festival this year in December. When we were out there we saw some fantastic work and met great people who talked to us about the way this city is changing. We met with women’s rights groups and a famous playwright there called Ramu Ramanthan (it was like having a conversation with google) who told us that there is an Indian language which is dying out with 107 words for tea; tea in the morning, tea with breakfast, tea when you’ve fallen in love, tea when the sunshine reflects directly in the cup. So we’re looking at stories that are passed down, changing times and old and new and eventually will be based across three different cities.

It’s not really a story as of yet though.

What part of the show has been the biggest challenge to direct/devise?
We’re essentially writing some big old monologues. We don’t really do that.
We also eventually want to make a Rube Goldberg machine on stage. We don’t know how to do that either.

What’s next for you and the company?
Next week we’ll be in Falmouth performing our lecture Tips For The Real World which is aimed at graduating arts students, then we are off on a (very spread out) tour of Volcano. Then of course working on this show for the premiere in December. We’re also in conversations with an Indian theatre company about their show Kabadi: Uncut which we’re trying to book for a British tour next year – it’s going to be a big project but it’s a great show with a wonderful cast and it’s in Marathi, so we’re prepared for a challenge!

You can catch The Stillness Of The Storm That Never Came At All in Ferment Fortnight Fri 24 Jan, 8.15pm. You can also see more about Clerke and Joy’s adventures to Mumbai on their blog…it’s much prettier than ours.
Photography by Paul Blakemore and Clerke and Joy


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