Vijay 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.
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