Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And then... There was light.

As far as the well-known, overly used cliché goes, over the last two weeks or so, it wore an entirely different meaning for me. I said, "yes," and then, there was light on the stage.

Photo1: Lights are as important as any other aspect of the play.

When the long-running maraaThi one-act play competition concluded yesterday, it gave rise to mixed feelings. As it has always done. When you have achieved something you always desired, you are left with a feeling of emptiness. Something is missing despite achieving everything. If you analyze in more details, as to what exactly is missing you can easily find that it's the desire. Desire to achieve that particular thing is, well, at least for the time being, is past you. You have fulfilled it, after all.

Exactly with these feelings I returned home, wading past the Sunday night traffic (which quite understandably we never suffered as we used to return home after midnight after the long practices). Suddenly, the hearts and traffic were heavy. Ah, and the bags too. As we had won a prize in all the categories except for best actress (too bad ladies didn't have much role to play in our play this time around). I won second prize for 'lights,' and hence the title of this post. We won the coveted Best One-act Play and Best actor in leading role awards, along with, Best Sets and Best Music first prize clean sweep. As most of the audience I talked to after our performance told me, it was a wonderful team effort that paid off. As it always has over the years. Our young-n-enthu Yuva MaraThi Sangha has always excelled at the art.

Photo2: Me receiving the second prize for lights from renowned actor Vikram Gokhale

Over the last four years or so, the duration of practice sessions has shrunk. The time spent in memorizing the dialogs has reduced. The time spent in actually executing has reached an alarmingly low level. In industrial terms, we are required to hit the tighter schedules of "time to audiences" and we have time and again bettered the previous records! What makes this possible is the ever-growing experience, ever growing understanding of secrets of the trade and ever growing desire to excel.

The previous two one-act plays have been written in-house. That provides even more flexibilities in terms of the plot and characters. This is fine as far as preparing for a competition is concerned. As the much enjoyed and passionately contested debate (between me and the director, of course) progressed, I posed the question of, "performance for the judges or performance for ourselves?," a new point of view towards the medium of theatre was beginning to come out. I was of the opinion of irrespective of how difficult a certain point becomes for the audiences to understand, we should not compromise upon it. We may simplify but not oversimplify which may take away the charm and beauty of the way a certain sequence is performed. The point was well taken, and another wonderful comment came from the lead actor: "The audience seems to enjoy it when they feel that they are made to think. Yet the audience hates it when they are really made to think!"

I guess, the challenge lies in playing with these thin lines.

If one looks at Escher's incredible drawings or listens to Bach's intriguing Cannons, or even tries to understand Godel's theorem, one can't help but fall in love with the amazing world of layers and of course, self reference. A couple of times, I tried to play with my rudimentary knowledge of these concepts and tried to create something like Esher's painting in the world of literature. I think there is enough scope to continue that further and perhaps take it to the world to theatre/cinema.

An example of the same was:

At an important phase of my life
I reflected back on my past:
I saw myself---
Reflecting upon my past,
At an important phase of my life.

Now, I am confused as to how to define "important phase" in my life.
With this note, I would like to put a semi-colon to this post. There are thousand things to write about. There are as many posts to make up for the longish e-silence over the last couple of weeks.

There are more words to be typed and more posts to be created. So, hang on!


Piyush Sarode said...

Congrats !!

Ajit said...

Thanks Piyush

Mohammed S Nulwala said...

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nivas said...

Never knew you were also into theatre and script writing too! Keep up the good work...
I have felt the same about over-simplification in movies/books...of course i never had to decide about doing it!

Piyush Sarode said...

BTW do you have copy of that poem "Tu khupp sundar aahe"
from the play?