Sunday, May 03, 2009

Theatrical Thoughts

I stepped inside Rangashankara after quite a while today. It was to watch the highly acclaimed play titled ‘Blackbird’ by Akarsh Khurana Productions. As I went over the play’s synopsis two days earlier, it was the cast that caught my eye – Akash Khurana and Shernaz Patel, and I decided a sensible cast like that deserved to be watched. And so I decided to watch the play along with my sister.

The play itself was a short 80 minutes but it was the feeling of being in Rangashankara and experiencing Theatre that made me content today. It was good to be walking in what seems to have become the theatrical Mecca of Bangalore, along with a bunch of solemn individuals who were willing to experiment with things that are different, even abstract and understood the etiquette of theatre.

We loitered around the place awhile joined by two cousins, taking in the atmosphere before the queue began to form. We entered the auditorium a few minutes later and found ourselves a good spot from where to see the stage and the actors clearly. Rangashankara always plays some good music as the audience waits for the play to begin and I love that about the place. We settled down and the play began in some time.

When you can see the actors from a distance of a few feet, feel the power of their voice as they effortlessly deliver their bits of the script, understand the intricacies of being involved in a run that has no retakes and any slips on anyone’s part call forth for an immediate improvisation on everybody’s part, entertainment takes on a new dimension. It has a thrill that even reality TV cannot provide. It is a quest for perfection that got lost in the race that television and films started.

As the play closed on a dramatic note and the lights came up again for the cast to take a bow, one could see the wake of the effort that the performance had demanded on the actor’s faces. They seemed to be as emotionally distraught as the characters were meant to be at the close. And that opened one’s eyes to how real and how difficult this really was. My respect for all theatre artistes, though already very high, was elevated even further after witnessing that moment.

We left the auditoriums half discussing the play, half fiddling with our switched off cell phones to check if we had been sought in those 80 minutes. I did not want to leave the premises immediately, so we said goodbye to our cousins and proceeded to the Rangashankara café to get ourselves some chai. We munched on delicious bits of Sabudana-Vada and Vada-Pav when I saw the cast descending from the stairs of the auditorium. They came to the café too and were congratulated by some people on their performance. We for our parts kept smiling at them in acknowledgement as they passed by. I was way too happy about seeing them there and way too proud of the fact that Theatre allowed you this luxury of having the stars eat at the same table as the others and be completely at home about it. I still haven’t got over it really. It just warms my heart to even think about how gracious the two of them were when in reality they had been part of big banners in Bollywod. It made me smile a whole lot.

That, I think, is the beauty of Theatre. The ones on stage and the ones off it are on the same plane really. And they share the perspective of the art form being depicted for the while it is being depicted. Theatre is humble and it is hard work. It really is the place where the clichéd coals are turned into diamonds that remember where they came from. No airs about it. And I love the entire idea for that reason and much more.

4 Thinkers Pondered:

Sowmya said...

The new black n white pic of yours is lovely...

Read all your posts after Fix you... I think you made the most of your leg injury... :)time well spent...

Even I feel bad about not being able to read more than 2 books a month... :( there is sooooo much to read...

Yes... A lot of music playing in my life over the last few weeks... but it is the music of poignance...
good to know you are singing and dancing :)

Sowmya said...

And... I was in Rangashankara for 3 plays last week... and ate sabudana vada :)

Eveline said...

I dig the new profile picture. You look gorgeous.

I've been to Rangashankara quite a few times. Practically lived there during the Attakkalari festival. The place is so other worldly! Every time i step into that place it makes me feel like i'm in some parallel wonderland..

Like your write up. Do let me know if they're other plays that you're thinking of going to in the future.

Anupama said...

Hey Sowmya,

Thanks for the comment and for reading all the recent posts :)

Hey Ev,

Yeah I had read you posts related to the Attakalari festival and wished so much to have been able to attend it...will surely let you know when I'm dropping in to Rangashankara next...thanks for the comment and also for the compliment about the profile pic :)