“I believe I am universal, and with that belief, I want to work in my own land,” Jyoti Sinha said with beaming confidence during our interview session.
Despite luring opportunities of joining mainstream theatre groups during her time at Jahangirnagar University, Jyoti Sinha, along with her peers, embarked on a mission to build a group for Manipuri theatre in Kamalganj’s Ghoramara village. “Besides Manipuri dance, we wanted to explore the Manipuri Pala-Krityas, which are powerful theatrical performances.” said Jyoti. She mentioned Srikrishna Kirtan by Bau Chandidas, Kohe Birangana by Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Debotar Grash by Rabindranath Tagore, Leima by Federico García Lorca, and Ingal Adhar Pala by Shuvashis Sinha as notable productions which linked local literature with world literature.
“I was only 12 when I was ushered into the world of Manipuri theatre. Now, it is a long-term relationship. I enjoy translating world literature for the stage because it takes on a completely new avatar” Jyoti explained. Her last two works were based on world literature. Mia Couto’s The Birds of God will be her next translated work, titled O Mon Pahiya in Manipuri language.
Jyoti is known for her impeccable solo performances which never fail to mesmerise the audience. When asked how she practices for her roles, she laughed and said, “I try to take notice of real people in my surroundings who possess similar characteristics to those of the character I’m playing and follow their gestures and postures. Then comes practicing in front of the mirror. I only show my performance to the director when I feel it is in shape. I work on the characterization further under the guidance from the director to make the role more credible.”