Deepika Arwind is a theater practitioner and writer based in Bangalore, India. The WLPG editors were able to charm her into answering a few questions in the midst of a busy schedule running workshops with young people and working on a number of new scripts.
WLPG: Was there something in particular that motivated you to start writing for young audiences?
DEEPIKA: Sometimes I would be doing a workshop with children, and I'd hear them do a monologue - completely out of their context, sitting alien on their tongue. I knew when I wrote for them, I would write things that they thought about, that would occupy their imagination truthfully.
WLPG: Is there a production, playwright, or theatre company that has been influential on your work?
DEEPIKA: I've loved many works in the theatre for young audiences - German, Korean, Spanish. At the New Voices / New Visions, I was especially moved by Ever in the Glades by Laura Schellhardt. The things that influence me in an almost direct way though, are those that happen right around me, here in Bangalore where they rooted in particular contexts. My friend Vinod Ravindran's 'How Cow Now Cow' is an example of that.
WLPG: Why is it important to write for children and young people?
DEEPIKA: They are our most curious, accepting and forgiving audiences.
WLPG: What is your typical writing process?
DEEPIKA: I begin with one thing I know - a mood, a name, a visual and use that as the anchor to build the rest of the universe around it. In time, as it begins to ring true, I begin to detail it further.
WLPG Is there any real difference between writing for young audiences and writing for adult audiences?
DEEPIKA: I don't think so, actually. You never leave the world of either play, if you can help it.
WLPG: Is there something about playwriting for children and young people in your country that is notable?
DEEPIKA: I think that a lot of theatre-practitioners and playwrights are using much of the oral story-telling tradition and children's literature to reimagine new stories. Other than that, they are forging on - making theatre for young audiences! That's notable, isn't it?
WLPG: Is there a question you would like to ask your fellow playwrights?
What are all of you writing about?