KATHMANDU, Feb 2: As the dramaturg at Theater Village in Lazimpat, Jeebesh Rayamajhi is kept busy throughout the day fulfilling his various responsibilities. The 37-year-old, who has been with Theatre Village for three years, is also the chairperson of the organization.
His responsibilities are many and varied. He counts the moments "when our productions are successful" as extremely exciting and satisfying in his career.
My usual responsibilities are supposed to be reading dramas, writing applications for funds, attending meetings with artistes, playwrights and directors, identifying potential plays and actors, and making plans, and managing events. But, unfortunately, I remain busy informing our friends and well-wishers about new shows through phone calls, emails and social media, and arranging for loans from new parties and paying back the old ones. I'm so busy that I often have to postpone important works and focus on carrying out urgent ones first. Normally my days are occupied with making phone calls, inviting audiences and executing only urgent matters.
Yours is not a 9 to 5 job. How many hours do you have to work in a day?
Yes, it is not a 9 to 5 job. In other words, I can take the liberty to set my working hours. But, in theater, you have to work round the clock for many days and, similarly, you can enjoy a week off. It depends how frequent the performances are.
Did you always want to be part of show business?
No, but I was always interested in art and culture. Yet, I really had no exposure to theater before I watched Gurukul's 'Fire in the Monastery' written by Prof Abhi Subedi. The play was directed by Sunil Pokharel.
Does one need a set of qualifications to be a dramaturg?
I am a dramaturg by passion. I think one requires university degrees on dramatic arts to be a skilled dramaturg. However, I am just an amateur, propelled by my passion rather than specific training or academic degree. I am a graduate of English Literature. My experiences include more than a decade long practice in theater. I've worked under Sunil Pokharel at Gurukul for a long time during which I translated plays, interpreted in theater workshops conducted by foreign artistes, and coordinated for community outreach programs. I've also prepared texts for regular events including theater performances and coordinated for national and international theater festivals.
What makes a good dramaturg?
I believe that would take a number of qualities like honesty, dedication along with professional skills and knowledge.
How challenging do you find your work?
In our case it is rather challenging. We can dream high and harbor the ambition of taking our works beyond the national borders and compete with cutting edge global theater today. But it's a rather difficult attempt to turn those dreams into reality. Whether it's something unconventional or even conventional, you have to work like a 'one man army' starting from making plans to finding resources, making policies, and executing the programs. The most challenging thing, perhaps also in other fields, is to find unconditional support. It is challenging to make everyone happy.
Do you have anything exciting planned for the future?
We have envisioned establishing an Asian Art and Theater Hub in Kathmandu. My personal dream is to set up a theater school in Nepal where enthusiasts from the west would come to learn eastern theater, and theater enthusiasts from Asian countries would come to hone their skills.