Call Cutta in a Box. Imagine that the newspaper salesman on the other end of the line suddenly starts singing for you. With an Indian accent. “Call Cutta in a Box” is a dizzyingly intimate and totally unusual theatre experience.

By Pernille Bøg

09.09.2008 / Urban

At 5 o’clock the phone rings in an almost completely normal apartment on Lindevej 2, 4th floor in Frederiksberg. My job is to answer the phone, which comes from a call center in Calcutta. The eastern part, to be precise, or so the caller tells me.
It turns out she is called Basundhara Ghosal. She is 24 years old and works for Escon Ltd. Her shift lasts about 9 hours and she gets transported to and from work because it is dangerous to go out alone. She tells me that the weather in Calcutta is a bit overcast and that they are heading into the rainy season, but that’s alright because it has been a frightfully hot summer.
She also tells me not to be nervous. And that’s easy for her to say, when you’re sitting there with a little notepad trying to stay on top of the situation while your theatre experience is in the hands of a young woman from the other side of the earth.
Anyway, we’re starting ‘scene 2’ she says, and she’ll try to “organize something nice for you.” She laughs and her voice is loaded with assurance as an electric kettle turns on by itself and she asks me to make tea while she interviews me about my life and dreams. She sings for me, asks me to move around the room, look at pictures, turn on the computer, draw her, taste small ‘mouth freshers’ that are supposed to taste like Calcutta.

Theatre outside the box.
Over the course of an hour I’ve been connected to a stranger who has told me, among other things, that she will be reborn as a lioness with a beautiful mane in her next life. I know things about her and she knows things about me. We have sung for one another and told what we see as our lives biggest mistake.
At one point the minutes begin counting down on our conversation. A shame, I think, I could have talked with Basundhara for hours. She teaches me a yoga trick before we are disconnected and I am once again standing in the traffic on Gammel Kongevej. There is a cow in a window staring emptily at me. I feel just as empty. I miss Basundhara and thoughts about the conditions of our globalized whirl around my head.
“Rimini Protocol,” who are the people behind “Call Cutta in a Box,” have given the best bid at political theatre in the year 2008. It is theatre outside the box, with a global reach that develops along the thriller’s classic arc of suspense .


Call Cutta in a Box