About one year back, I wrote this thought as a memory of my first performance in the sleeve of a Playback Artist. Here, today I am sharing this thought with some modifications:
“There is a term called Art Appreciation; not as Art Criticism but real appreciation of art. We are looking for those people who can understand how much dedication, hard-work and time we put behind one performance; because that’s all we can share to our audience and we expect from them that they understand what a special show they are witnessing.”
I was standing in middle of the hall of Hotel Ramada with my fellow actors in a curved line in front of 40-45 college students when these words came out from our own Ms. Nandini Rao, Artistic Director of Yours Truly Theatre (YT). I could hear the silence after this well versed and bold statement. Evidently, they were stunned. Then she justified with explanation,
“In India, we produced more than 1.5 lacs engineers, almost 1000 art students and only 12 theatre artists. So, one should realize how rare these performances and these kind of artists are. I am a part of YT from last 11 years and I am very proud of myself by saying this.”
I could see the little fire in her about her passion when she was talking about historical achievement earned by YT; because she couldn’t let go of any small disrespect/mockery of anyone’s feeling when they were sharing. As she briefed later in our famous ‘circle talk’:
“We have performed among worse audiences and these students were in fact, very energetic and cheering. Little chit-chat, here-and-there during performances I can accept but when I saw, people were murmuring (actually not listening even commenting also) when one girl was sharing her story with the conductor of the show, I couldn’t hold myself.”
After the little thanks session by Nandini, the crowd was cheering us up with several keywords like ‘Faadu’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Mind Blowing’, ‘Good presence of mind’ and ‘Suprb’. We even got the chance to give some autographs. But, it was not because of Nandini’s speech; it was because of all the actors’ commitment and diligence. Indeed, it was a lovely evening.
Now, as I remember that day: I could see that the girl who shared the love story of her friend became so emotional during the ‘Narrative’ performance. I could feel the joy of another girl who shared the story of horse ride on the mountain and her cousin fell down. I could hear the laughter of the boy who shared the toilet incident and actors performed entire scenes in ‘Chorus’ using lots of gesture and expressions. And at the end, even I joined the crowd with the sad tone of ‘ohh… nooo’ of the crowd when Vishal (conductor of the day) had said ‘Good Bye’.
I really want to elaborate each and every piece of stories here but I would rather want you to wonder about the show by giving you glimpse of a fragrant touch of emotions.
People always wonder how it is like to act impromptu. Of course, it’s not easy as we need to create the act from the words came out from audiences. And act includes flow of narration, background story, internal conflict and dialogues. Sometimes, if you were the last one to go and after the finishing short & sweet act of second-last person you feel
“Oh My God, What am I going to do? They showed everything what audience shared with us?” Lost in ideas!
And that’s where you need to utilize the time to let it all go, fill yourself audience’s crayons of imaginations and think like them. But if I add it in one line it should be ‘Be in a moment’. And yes, it works for Playback performance as well as life!
I think that’s why Nandini has this strong view on ‘Art Appreciation’ because everything looks on the stage, seems so easy to think but when it comes to act you should have the initial courage to jump on the stage. We, at YT, do not focus on what went wrong. Rather, we go for what we did and without judging tap on the back with a notion ‘Good Job’. Then you feel as an actor that they all are with you, always!
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