THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
The month that was…
Maharashtra Day. Also Labour Day. Ten days to opening of new play for children. Better start laboring on the script.
Shooting corporate films in a bank with some of the regular theatre folk, who realize that many liberties can be taken on a bank on a Sunday. Dreams are lived out.
Write the damn script! Oh, wait, Armageddon on Star Movies. Let me watch a few scenes for the 93rd time. Ok. Enough. Write. Oh, wait, rehearsals…
2 shows at Prithvi. Acting. Rampuri cap goes missing. Beard, which is crucial element of the performance, starts coming off. Sat on my on stage wife in the blackout, on stage.
2 more shows at Prithvi. Busted knee in blackout. Glow tapes put by some malicious sadists. Esteemed audience members liked performance. Loved the fake paunch. Only it wasn’t fake.
New play readings begin. 14 actors read 40 parts. Ask for remaining cast. There isn’t any. I can hear them muttering under their breath. Great start.
The Summertime shows begin. The Shehenshah of Azeemo house at Karnataka Sangha is 4 times the previous year’s, but still 10% occupied.
Azeemo at Horniman Circle. Like performing in an oven with costumes made of good conductors of heat. Reason we do theatre, right?
Action choreography for new play. Exhausting, but exhilarating. A Special Bond 2 at Horniman Circle. The leopard wears keds.
New play tech. Disaster. Depression. Panic.
Premiere shows. Two actors fly in from the Gulf, just in time for the show. Nervous energy takes us through. As do two enthusiastic full houses. Lucky break.
Stress gets the better of me. I take random entries in Azeemo at Prithvi. One entry has me dressed in a sari as a crow. Sari falls on entry. While dancing badly, I swiftly convert it to a burkha. Audience particularly moved by secular crows.
A Special Bond returns to Prithvi after a long hiatus and still has a loyal following. Underage girls still line up to see Hidaayat Sami in a dhoti.
A Special Bond 2 has precise, fun shows, despite cast being changed between shows. A talented friend from the audience of the first show steps into two parts in the second show and takes it to another level. More reasons for us choosing to do theatre!
Karnataka Sangha occupancy goes up to 20% thanks to Enid Blyton, but an exhausting week takes it’s toll on the cast. Technical mishaps don’t help. Neither does a pair of slippers that fly across stage during the performance!
Two Akvarious directors get engaged! To each other! The lady of course wraps up the engagement and rushes off for a show. More theatre actors shoot in a bank for corporate films. The background artistes are the most emotive.
May 17 – 20:
No distinct memories. Might be because of the fatigue. Or the medication.
Film career resurfaces. Big picture releases. Day spent dealing with bouquets (few) and brickbats (many). Choose any medium, and critics surface soon enough.
Preparation for Bangalore trip. Struggling with sponsors and the memories of the setback of the previous trip. Fingers crossed.
25 theatre people go watch a film written by a theatre wallah, starring a theatre wallah in an important supporting role, on tickets booked by yet another theatre wallah.
Day 1 of multiple rehearsals. 4 plays rehearsing simultaneously on 1 terrace with 2 chairs.
Day 2 of multiple rehearsals. Searching for clarity in the confusion. Thank God for a sporting and supportive unit.
2 shows of Tintin at Prithvi. Disastrous first show. Outstanding second show. Some sense of balance and redemption. Difficult tempo loading process owing to a couple of cooks too many.
Departure to Bangalore. Flight at dawn. Show at sunset. Stolen naps on stage. A blur.
More freaks descend on Bangalore. Hotel screws up room requirements. Some slumming ensues. But spirits are high, and people, basically, are good.
A Special Bond 2 gets a poor house but has a good show despite many replacements and a serious injury in the cast. Bangalore hospital hopping. Day ends with a good show and a good house.
Three shows back to back in Bangalore. Desperate sprints from on stage to tech booth. Light and sound operators in suits. Rains. Cigarettes. Loading. Accounts.
Departures. Delays. Landed and rushed off straight for a film meeting… to generate capital for more theatre! We never learn, do we?