The moment I want to capture in my mind is that the twelve of we drunks sitting around the table in a not-so-fancy-but-worth-remembering-restaurant, laughing, cracking jokes and reflecting our thoughts but except the fact that we were not actually drunk but we were high and laughing as loud as we can by changing the first letter of each other’s, our friends’ and even Trump’s as well as Modi’s name. We were sharing Lassi (or should we call it a combined syrup of curd with the sugar) and having a random talk in pairs and still could respond to the person sitting at another corner of the table.
Yes, I felt that
We are (were) 2-hour Superstar!
At this point, you might feel that the post is going to give a negative vibe as it progresses or you might have no idea what this is all about.
So, let me brief it.
We just finished two back-to-back theatre performances in two days (4th & 5th Feb) of our show ‘Lore to Luru’ which prompts our audience to look back at the history and modern time of the city, Bengaluru where they were currently living or have been born and brought up.
It was an Interactive and Improv theatre performance capturing the nuances of audience’s personal stories which was enacted by us (actors). This theatre format is called Playback Theatre which is renowned in the theatre world.
Here, you might want to stop me and say, “Hey, I know about it.” But I am putting it in the world of 8 billion people to see actually how much percentage of people claim to have at least heard about it.
I don’t have a graph or any survey results but in my opinion, being practised across 150 countries (out of 195 countries), not even 0.05 percent of people know about Playback Theatre.
Playback Theatre: It is an interactive and improv theatre format allowing audience to share their personal stories which is immediately performed by the actors without rehearsals or pre-planning.
Now, the question must be: What is so special about Playback Theatre everyone should know?
Let me come back to the answer a little later. Because, I think if I expand the area by saying just ‘Theatre’, it will include many amazed faces (who are in my circle) with expressions like
Oh theatre, theatre is great.
I love theatre. And I respect for the artist.
It’s a different experience that you cannot get anywhere.
Movies are of made many fake performances. But the theatre gives the real feeling what it’s like to see an actor plays a character.
Not to demean the people who actually know about the theatre but I feel most of the people say these amazing lines to give me a consolation remark because either they don’t understand it or they don’t want to understand it.
Do you know why I am so sure about this?
Because I have been with those people
Because I have been listening to the same story from my fellow theatre artists
Because I have been experiencing the almost empty performance space
So, I would like to throw few questions to those admirers.
Why such appreciation with less number of attendees?
Why do you sit on your couch in front your television set to watch same stupid serials?
Why do you go to the multiplexes and watch any random movies with no storylines (not every movie is great) whatsoever?
Why do you spend hours of time to go through the videos, pictures and posts which offer the same content with extra spices?
Why do you only watch the performance which has a celebrity or a popular artist in it?
You were supposedly aware of what real entertainment is or maybe, you were not. You were just pretending/being polite. And that’s why marketing people are so successful in fooling you. I don’t want to slide down into the details of ‘how’ because there will be many factors to be considered to understand the working process of the marketing and obviously, there are so much money involved. Maybe, another time!
Personally, I’ve been part of playback theatre performance as an actor for more than 20 show and if I am not wrong, I may have reached to almost 1000 to 3000 people. They gave us a big round of applause at the end, met us and many times, me too and expressed how amazed they are after watching it.
But my frustration is that the words about playback theatre doesn’t beyond it. For our next public show, we again have to struggle to get the audience.
You (Readers) might want to ask a counter question: What about theatre people, what about the audiences who has watched and actually liked it? Why did they not share it everywhere: among their friends, colleagues, families and on the internet in their random conversations with the strangers?
Because, what I think, they can’t say or express it exactly how they felt and I am not bragging here. I saw in their overwhelmingly joyous eyes while they were giving us a standing ovation.
The perfect answer to why they were speechless should be:
“They saw their own selves while watching from the audience arena.”
Yes, Playback Theatre gives you a true performance for you with a story that is inspired by your life incidents what you have shared with us.
We perform for almost 1.5 hours and then, we interact with the audiences for almost 30 minutes in our informal space and that’s the end of our existence (of course, not for us but for the world where we live in). Therefore, I call us:
The good news is that we have not given up and not a single chance, we will be in the near future or till forever. We shall keep pushing, keep coming up with new ideas, keep innovating, keep challenging, keep calling, keep entertaining, keep giving our audience a lifetime experience and keep performing whether you come or not!