To act, enact and be yourself!

A personal experience of what it is to be part of a theatre program –learn, rehearse, act and enact with a team led by theatre stalwart  By Chaitra Pallavi

Theatre has always intrigued me! Way back in college days had got an opportunity to play with my imagination while studying Shakespeare, Dickens and analyzing plenty of poems and sonnets as part of a three-year undergraduate program in English Literature.  Then on, have been watching plenty of plays, but never dared to get into a theatre production group.  This time around, with an urge to do something different and creative I was lucky to get acquainted with ‘Bangalore Little Theatre’ group and Mr Vijay Padaki in particular.

And believe me, this is one the best things to have happened in 2017 and the final show with the advent of the New Year 2018! When we started meeting for SPOT summer program sessions in early October, I went with an open mind, with a view to have some fun and make new friends.  Little did I know then that I would be doing more than just having fun and become part of a play on stage and tour and interact!

SPOT1SPOT was a revelation and the weekends well spent.  We used to start the session with a small brisk walk around the venue followed by stretching, it helped me loosen up.  Further, the physical activity helped my entire fellow SPOTters bond.  As we slowly moved towards understanding how bodies loosen up, the voice modulation exercises came very handy.  And time and again I was so blown over by Vijay’s activities, be it the role play’s, hearing about the anecdotes, which he shared effortlessly and most of the times spontaneously.  Those were little gems. Without our awareness, we were doing a lot of things.  Understanding the folk forms, trying to do some folk dances, experimenting with voice, feeling the basic senses, and importantly trusting the team partners as part of the activities.

SPOT2.jpgSome activities which really broke the ice was moving randomly and taking any form without losing the eye contact with your partner.  This helped the team to trust each other. Other, fondly called ‘Caterpillar’, where we had to trust the team and roll one-self on the grabbing hands. Experimenting with the pitch of voice by increasing the space between the audiences and most of the spotters will agree with me about the blindfolded walk in the vicinity.

At the end of few sessions, I believe, we had almost shed all the inhibitions, where making eye contact and were comfortable with ourselves.  And without our knowledge, we were part of Play Reading a Chinese folktale ‘The Year of Rooster’.  Seldom, I knew much about China, except about the Chinese product dump worldwide, cherry blossoms, and of course Chinese food.  The effort helped me read about their culture, social system and a little about the folklore. As were progressed with the play reading I evinced a mental form taking place.  And with-in very little time we had other theatre enthusiasts and experienced performers as part of the play reading and we were a team!

SPOT3Finally, I learnt that I was playing the role of Lady Whitewaters, a second daughter to Prime Minister of China in the play. With butterflies in my stomach and zero confidence, I employed all the character analysis which we did during college days to understand Lady Whitewaters.  She was married to a gentleman of rank but not of substance, the character had grey shades to it starts off being a snooty, arrogant and patronizing wife in the beginning of the play to a helpless daughter in despair when her husband is to be prosecuted in the closing and final act.

But when on the stage as part of the crew during rehearsals, magically all the comfort level, a command in the voice, pronunciation, the character analysis et all evaporated.  All the years spent in the corporate world, being timid, sophisticated, and aware of surroundings took its position.  That was the biggest challenge for me, to let myself loose and get into a character which was stark opposite to me in real life. But the cast/team played a very big role, particularly the director who instilled faith and helped me in shedding that inhibition.  And today, with a total of 20 shows, a past now and to have performed in 10 odd shows, I have taken that one minuscule step ahead to see myself as a performer.

Looking back, some major takeaways from SPOT and the performances –

First, meeting and befriending people from different age groups, and different walks of lives coming from varied professions. Theatre is such that it will take anybody in its fold and gives an opportunity to irk the imagination and let oneself loose without fear.

Second, learning to face the audience, Vijay asks us to make eye contact with the audience, but believe me easier said than done. The entire process is exhilarating, the immense fear of erring before getting onto the stage, and once on the stage, lines and act happening smoothly.

Third, an understanding of what goes behind putting together a play, and the vision of the person who is directing it. It’s one big team effort, some get the limelight and some don’t.

Finally, doing/acting a character and not getting into it more than skin deep, once the act is over ‘you are who you are’!

Advertisements

The Year of the Rooster – A review by a Student

rooster100

The Year Of The Rooster – Review
On 17th November, Friday, our school, Sishu Griha, took the students from high school- classes 8, 9, and 10 to watch the play ‘The Year Of The Rooster’.
This play is an adaptation of a Chinese folktale, and traditional to the Chinese way of presenting a play, there are few props and stage setting, enabling the audience to use their imagination, and furnish the stage the way they like. The play tells us the story of a strong-willed, firm young woman, Still Waters, who is determined not to marry men like her sisters’ shallow husbands, but an honest, true young man, who happens to be the gardener in her mansion. However, this goes against her father’s wishes. Still Waters leaves her house with her husband in a fit of anger and vows never to return until they become rich and successful.
Through the play, we see how she fulfills her oath, in a humorous and light manner, exaggerating and ridiculing certain aspects of human nature. There are musical moments in the play, which lends it a different effect altogether, and the lack of props and other items onstage lets us imagine to our fullest capability. The actors were wonderful, especially those of the Prime Minister (Still Water’s father), the Tiger General (a sister’s husband), and Still Water’s mother.
The play was ‘run’ by two property masters, and a reader, who played the part of the narrator but also took on certain roles in the play, as minor characters, such as attendants, soldiers, and others.
I enjoyed the play, overall, and since it was an interactive one, it provided us with many chances to feel like we were a part of it. I would recommend watching this play, which would guarantee you around ninety minutes of highly enjoyable time and laughter.

This article has been penned by Gayatri Allamsetty 

Sketch by Supriya Kannan

 

 

 

Directors Training Programme

ALLIANCE FRANCAISE and BANGALORE LITTLE THEATRE

are pleased to announce the next

Directors Training Programme

It is a unique project in which a festival of Indian adaptations of plays will be combined with a Directors training programme.

The programme will enroll participants interested in learning how to direct a play and manage a theatre production. Three to four plays with a French connection are being lined up for adaptation into the Indian social context – and to be produced in the festival. The trainee Directors will thus learn production-direction skills around the chosen live productions.

Bangalore Little Theatre was created in 1960, and is the city’s oldest and most widely respected organization committed to the promotion of theatre and performing arts. BLT is the oldest cultural partner of Alliance Francaise, associated with even setting up the Bangalore centre.

This programme is only for those with previous theatre experience and serious interest in continuing in the theatre. Those interested can write directly to BLT at the following contacts:

bangalorelittletheatre@gmail.com

vpadaki.theatre@gmail.com

Please include your full name, your email contacts, your phone contacts and your address. Add a paragraph to say what your experience in the theatre has been and why you want to join this programme.

BLT and AF reserve the right to the enrolment of applicants. Selected applicants will receive detailed information of the programme schedule. The training will start in early June. The end performances will be in mid-August.

 

Magician in Maya Bazaar

maya12.jpg

I first got to hear about the auditions for Bangalore Little Theatre’s production Maya Bazaar from a friend who knew I was interested in theatre. It didn’t matter that I had never acted in a play before, apart from the mini-plays we used to stage in school where my most famed role was of Joseph in a Nativity play. I still somehow wanted to step my foot in. So, I went for the auditions thinking it would be a learning experience, an initiation of sorts if nothing else, and somehow a few weeks later, got an email where I found out that I had landed the role of Asambhav, one of the two crazy magicians who form a comedy element in the play.

maya17

My first time in a play and it was being produced by Bangalore’s oldest theatre group, with multi-cast to boot, many of who were already acquainted with one another. It was obvious that I was nervous, especially during the very first rehearsal in September. Twenty people of all ages and possessing vastly different, some might say quirky, personalities, we started off awkwardly, still getting used to each other and the script. As I was new at this acting thing, I remember thinking how we would ever be able to put up a decent play with all the memorizing lines and cues and “blocking” (a term I had learned only then). But as days passed rehearsals started going smoother till one day our director Sridhar rewarded us with an amazing line, “Remember this day’s rehearsal people! This is our benchmark, what we have to match up to and surpass in our shows”.

maya10

We’ve completed around 18 shows around Bangalore till date and each show presents us with more and more insights into the different characters of Maya Bazaar. And also, reveals a bit more of the people who play them. I am proud to say now that along with having the opportunity to get to know this amazing cast and performing for a good cause, Maya Bazaar has been a most rewarding first-time stage experience!

So if you haven’t caught a show yet, here is your last chance to watch it at Rangashankara.

Come be a part of the grand finale of this magical journey.

Book your tickets online https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/maya-bazaar/ET00048811

This article has been penned by Swati Parasuraman

An actors experience – Maya Bazaar

ngma5.jpg

A pinch of laughter, a dash of drama and a truckload of fun that is the best way to describe my experience with Maya Bazaar.

After a series of what I can only call intense, serious plays, I finally got the chance to get back to my comfort zone- comedy musicals. But this comedy musical is unlike any other I have been a part of. For one our cast is huge- almost every other character has a double.

So our weekend rehearsals can only be described as fun, noisy and crazy family get together because that’s what we became over the last few months- one big happy family.

Anyone who has grown up in south India would be familiar with the famous Telugu classic Maya Bazaar. And this production is a contemporary adaption of the classic deliciously served up with our playwright’s very special brand of humour and wit.

Right from the start, there was never any distinction between the directors and actors. We were all part of the same journey to reach one common goal- to make ‘Maya happen’.

And with a lot of hard work and a lot more fun thrown in, I can proudly say we achieved that goal. And even after having done nearly 20 shows, we approach every show with same the energy and keep adding in new elements to keep the audience thoroughly entertained.

So if you haven’t caught a show yet, here is your last chance to watch it at Rangashankara.

Come be a part of the grand finale of this magical journey.

Book your tickets online https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/maya-bazaar/ET00048811

This write-up has been penned by Archana Kariappa

Maya Bazaar- Review by a student

On Friday, 25th November, the seventh, eighth and ninth graders of Sishu Griha, including myself, went to watch Maya Bazaar, a play based on the Mahabharata, produced by Bangalore Little Theatre.

nh1.jpg

It starred Ghatotkacha, the son of Bheema of the Pandavas, Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, his lover, Sashi, two slightly crazy ‘practitioners of magic’, and of course, Krishna, the brains behind it all.

ngma6.jpg

                   Two slightly crazy ‘practitioners of magic’ advising Abhimanyu

The story was light and entertaining, and more importantly, simple enough for people who haven’t read the Mahabharata to understand. The opening scene belonged to Daku, a ‘postbird’, who was trying to find the right place to deliver the only mail of his career, feeling he would be disgraced if he didn’t do it before he died.

From there, the play was carried off marvellously by Ghatu and his family, transporting the audience into the world in which they lived.

The dialogues were hilarious, and had many references to modern day culture, bringing the house down. Many times, the scenes had to be paused so that the audience could finish their cheering and clapping.

Many little things were done in interesting little ways, such as personifying Abhimanyu’s arrows, using people dressed up to shoot across the stage. The trees, too, were people with buckets over their heads.

af9.jpg

Daya Sakrepatna as Daku with two crazy magicians

Anand Rajamani, as Ghatotkacha, and DayaSakrepatna, I felt, were especially good as Ghatotkacha and Daku respectively.

The music was really good too, by Bangalore R. Ramanath, who played the tabla beautifully and with a lot of skill (although that field is rather unknown to me).

Altogether, the play was a delightful combination of humour, wit, costumes and plain good acting. This play can and should be watched by people of all ages, for two hours’ worth of enjoyment and laughter.

This write-up has been penned by Gayatri Allamsetty, a budding writer who is  currently doing her 8 grade in Sishu Griha. She has won a prize in writing competition conducted by Wipro – Earthian last year.

Creating the ‘Maya’ – Back Stage

atta8Vijay Padaki once exclaimed during his production of Emil’s Enemies, “My main actors are not onstage but offstage.” The words were etched in my heart since then, but unfortunately, I have rarely been part of that magical process, because the actor within me has always been hungry to be in the forefront rather than in the background. Mayabazar, finally helped me understand Padaki’s word in detail when I was given the charge of costumes and assist Ravi, our stage manager in any way that was possible. Thus, the fairy tale began to unfold. None of us in the team is qualified in fashion design, which is why it was quite an unearthing experience to come up with a fusion look for the actors, especially when some of them are not in their best of human forms yet has that uncanny resemblance to their human counterparts. Me, Ravi and my very talented partner Anushri have had  innumerable sessions in understanding the practical possibility of coming up with a look, which is comfortable for the actors, not too complicated and will not create a hole in your pocket. One of the most amazing things working in the backstage of a theatre production is the resultant effect of the amalgamation of the various ideas into one single unit, which gives the idea of a collective effort involved in making the final product. At times you might not be on the same page with your partner in deciding the idea, but you realise that it is after all not a bad thing, because with patience and virtue the consensus that is arrived in is actually a much better outcome, rather than your own single endeavour – and this is exactly the way Mayabazar has been created. In this process, you create a family outside your family – a family where everybody is equal, talented and has an adrenaline rush to produce ‘maya’ at any point of time. In the course of time Maya Bazaar has taught us that there is nothing called ‘a bad idea.’ There is, of course, workable and not – workable ones, but no idea is trashy. You have to play with it for some time to realise its viability but definitely, you cannot discard an idea, just like that and terming it bad or useless. Therefore, whatever the audience will see today is an ultimate effort and endeavour from every individual in this team, for innumerable months and days, and a determination to take them on this  unforgettable journey.

maya9

Working in Mayabazar has taught be three important things – firstly, you do not need a formal qualification to get into stagehand work. What you need is a minimum level of discipline and organising  skills and the fact that you do not hesitate to ask for help (a very crucial quality), because you honestly do not think that, you shall be involved in everything. Secondly, you need appropriate interest and to me is the most important of all because this is what will drive you to work for the betterment of the product and use your brains until the last level and thirdly investment of an appropriate amount of time. You cannot expect things to happen just by the whip of your wand. You have to invest your time and energy should have the patience that things will come out. Thus, the combination of these three elements is what Mayabazar is today and everything that you see is created right from the scratch by the super energetic, talented, vivacious, brilliant, and artistic team who have worked relentlessly to give you this experience.

I hope, Mayabazaar creates the same magic on the audience as it has on us, theatre  is magic and when ‘Maya’ happens you get a double dose of magic. Now, who can deny that?

This write-up has been authored by Shatarupa Bhattacharyya