Theatre & Human Possibility

Sameera Iyengar

Theatre & Human Possibility

23 November 2012

What is it that makes us wonderfully human? The opposable thumb? An ability to use tools? Language? Maybe. But these factors do not quite capture our experience of being human. Sameera Iyengar argues that humans are strange creatures, who delight in discovery, revel in emotion, are given to flights of fancy, take joy in imagining beyond the obvious, and who need to be fulfilled in ways that are not only material. 

She further argues that in the genuine unleashing of this human possibility lies the possibility of a wonderful world, and for this we need to embrace, seriously and joyfully, theatre and the larger world of performing arts.

Sameera has traversed a path from mathematics to theatre, which began during her undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago with a thesis on practices in contemporary Indian theatre. At MIT, it became clear to her that the sciences and the arts are not the separate entities they have been made out to be – that they are both driven by the human desire to seek and understand. From 2002 till 2011 she was working with the Prithvi Theatre, conceiving programmes, creating and running outreach and awareness modules linked to the Prithvi Theatre Festivals, and envisioning future engagement between theatre and the public. In February 2012, she launched Junoon along with Sanjna Kapoor – with the aim to conceive and create platforms for a regular engagement with theatre and allied performing arts across this country.