The makers of Day Zero (by Actors Ensemble India Forum), a science fiction play about climate change (specifically about the water crisis in Bengaluru), started working on it in September 2021. A year later, Bengaluru recorded one of its wettest September since the last nine years. The city managed to have excessive rainfall, water logging and a water shortage — all at the same time!
Through science fiction
“We could all see the linkages between climate change (excessive rainfall) and resource mismanagement. We also realised how urban topography and the natural flow of water through city “ridges and valleys” was a key factor in the crisis. We wanted to explore these contradictions in a unique way through science fiction,” says Mallika Prasad Sinha, the director-designer of the play. Ram Ganesh Kamatham is the writer-director.
The play is set in Bengaluru but across multiple timelines, which makes it intriguing. “In Day Zero, the Opera Theatre at the corner of Brigade and Residency Road becomes an important site holding the city’s memory. In the ‘90s, it was a movie theatre of ill repute, and in the ‘30s, it was the heart of boxing, with many exciting fighters who are now largely forgotten. The play stitches together different timelines. And, in the process, we see the unfolding of Bangalore cantonment history. We also see how water and memory are deeply interlinked,” says Mallika.
“Fans of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and the Blade Runner universe will have a great time with the references in our play,” she adds, “We have a fantastic team working to make this a visual treat and a great theatrical experience. At the end of the day though, we don’t “watch a play” we “listen” to it – so the audience is as much a part of the atmosphere of the play as the performers.”
Though there are elements of fantasy in the play, the makers believe the social and environmental relevance will make it relatable to the audience.
For more information about the play, visit aeif.in/current
‘Day Zero’ will be staged on September 2 and 3 at 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm at Alliance Française de Bangalore.