The Cabinet of Dr Caligari


Blue Ocean Theatre & NECAB in collaboration with Performance Studies Collective, Delhi

Directed by Deepan Sivaraman


24th Oct. 2018, 21:00

25th Oct. 2018, 19:00

26th Oct. 2018, 19:00

27th Oct. 2018, 19:00

WHERE: Exhibition Hall 3

Duration: 75 minutes (without intermission)

Performed in English, with Chinese and English subtitles


The play stands out in its use of space, as it seeks to transcend the barriers of the stage through innovative moves. …The play has intense allegorical connection to the contemporary political milieu as it projects subtle images of the dominant class trying to keep the masses dormant while they go ahead with their Machiavellian schemes.

— Ramavarman, “The German Ideology,” Times of India 

Deepan has succeeded in conveying the subject of the play with great impact and intensity though masterly designed scenography, music and lighting. 

— Sakeer Hussain, “When Dr Caligari arrives again,” Madhyamam 

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a multi-layered play that invites and even demands, active involvement from the audience.

— Sudeesh, Counter currents

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, like Deepan's other works including Spinal Cord, tends to transcend the realm of realism to explore the possibilities of surrealism and magical realism.

— Madan Babu, “It is impossible not to quarrel with the insane era,” Madhyamam

Deepan's adaptation of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari takes off from the film and creates a more multi-layered, non-linear and open-ended structure than that of the film and leverages the possibilities of both cinema and theater to offer more space for the audience's imagination and interpretations.

Renu Ramnath, “Capturing the moment of frozen memory,” Chalachithra Sameeksha

Deepan Sivaraman, through his acclaimed play The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, points at fascism in our midst and the war for the mind of the people.

Dipanita Nath, Indian Express

The play Cabinet of Dr Caligari can be summarized in a sentence as a theater clock of fear and anxiety which ticks for seventy-five minutes on stage and thereafter in the audience's minds.

—Bipin Chandran, “As the Cabinet of Caligari opens,” Malayalam Weekly

About The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Deepan Sivaraman’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is a theatrical adaptation of the 1920 German Expressionist film. Set in Nazi Germany, Sivaraman’s piece is a dark thriller that succinctly portrays our contemporary political milieu. This political allegory is an avant-garde experimental piece presented by Performance Studies Collective, Delhi, in collaboration with NECAB and Blue Ocean Theatre Bangalore. Noted for its striking use of scenography and material, this reinterpretation of the original classic is highly fragmentary yet holistic in its conception. With more than a passing nod to Alfred Hitchcock, the play manifests as a riveting psychological thriller multi-layered in its scope. Following the story of Dr Caligari and a somnambulist who is put to nefarious use, it is a dark tale of murder and mayhem, reminiscent of a Marquezian narrative. Potently philosophical in nature, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari with its uncanny visuals is a scathing political commentary on the horrors of fascism. Its nuanced use of text, beyond dialogue, incorporating elements of surrealism, shatters conventional idioms of drama. This powerful piece seeks to violently disrupt our notions of reality, forcing us to rethink our essentialised understanding of truth.


Director and Scenographer: Deepan Sivaraman

Dramaturg: Purav Goswami

Producer: Prakash Bare

Production Controller: Sreehari Ajith

Light Designer: Alex Sunny

Sound Designer: Kaustubh Naik and Rohan Naik

Projection Execution: Anindya Gupta

Projection Execution (Subtitles): Sajan K Narayanan

Technical Supervision: Sujathan Kesavan

Stage Manager: Ashish Sharma

Sound Technician: Jomet K Johnson

Performers: Deepan Sivaraman - Alan

         Prakash Bare - Caligari

         Purav Goswami - Francis

         Taha Abdul Majeed - Cesare

         Leenaz Samad Bicha - Jane

         Vijay Singh - Town Clerk / Dr. Stern

         Deepak Raj - Policeman 1

         Baiju P Varghese - Policeman 2

         Gaurav Kandola - Attendant

         Ashish Sharma - Attendant

         Sreehari Ajith - Attendant

About Deepan Sivaraman

Deepan Sivaraman, a director, scenographer and writer lives in Delhi. He is the founding artistic director of Oxygen Theatre Company based in Kerala and the Performance Studies Collective based in Delhi. Deepan is also an Associate Professor and Programme Coordinator of MA Performance Studies at School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University in Delhi. The recipient of Charles Wallace India Trust Award, he holds BA, MA and M Phil degrees in theatre arts and is also a post graduate from the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design London. His practice-led PhD “Spatial identities and visual language in Indian theatre” from Wimbledon College of Art London explores the possibility of an interactive visual language, alternative to word based drama.

Deepan has designed and directed more than 60 performances for various companies and academic institutions in India and Europe and his works have been performed in several important theatre festivals around the world including Avignon, Alameda, Edinburgh, Prithvi, ITFOK, META and Bharath Rang Mahotsav. Deepan is a recipient of Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademy Award for theatre direction and his works have been represented in the Indian scenography national exhibition at Prague Quadrennial in 2011. His play Spinal Cord received seven Mahindra Excellence Theatre Awards in 2010, including best designer and director.  

He served as the Artistic Director of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala 2014 edition. Some of his other major performance pieces are Dark Things (2018, in collaboration with Ari Sitas, Sumangala Damodaran and Anuradha Kapur), The Legends of Khasakkinte Itihasam (2015), It’s Cold in Here (2014), Project Nostalgia (2014), Ubu Roi (2012), Peer Gynt (2010), and Spinal Cord (2009).

About Blue Ocean Theatre & Performance Studies Collective & NECAB

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a collaborative production between the following groups.

Blue Ocean Theatre is a Bangalore based group of theatre and film enthusiasts working together with a common vision of offering fine quality theatre to the audience, locally and around the world. Blue Ocean Theatre’s aim is to explore unchartered waters to deliver fresh experience to the theatre going audiences. For the production of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Blue Ocean collaborated with Performance Studies Collective, Delhi and NECAB, Bangalore.

Performance Studies Collective is a Delhi-based performance art and studies gathering, pan-Indian in scope and experimental in character. The aim of the group is to critically engage with the field of performance studies: writing on performances, producing socially & spatially engaging performances which cross the borders of various art streams, organising lectures and publishing newsletters. Majority of the members are the graduates, students and professors of post graduate performance studies programme of School of Cultural & Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University in Delhi.

NECAB is a Bangalore based Engineering college (NSS Engg College in Palakkad) alumni organization actively involved in organizing events and programs in the theatre, cinema and social responsibility spheres in Bangalore for more than a decade. 

Performance Studies Collective is a Delhi-based performance movement, pan-Indian in scope and philosophical in character. Deepan Sivaraman and his students over the last several years form the core of the PSC team. 

The play was originally developed as part of a coursework in Ambedkar University, Delhi about the importance of performance space in modern day theater. Later the production was moved to Bangalore with cast and crew from both Delhi and Bangalore contributing to it. Caligari has been presented on more than 30 stages in Delhi, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Kerala, including major festivals ITFOK 2017, Bharat Rang Manch 2016, META 2016, and more.