Theatre's Medicinal Value
On the first day of 2011, at dawn, while normal people were nursing hangovers or sleepwalking back to their homes, I was at Prithvi, setting up for a show. The previous night had been spent supervising pack up, and fighting sleep in a stationary car in the festive traffic. In retrospect, not such a bad way to bring in the year. Especially since it resulted in four almost-full shows.
Halfway through the month we opened a brand new production. One key thing learnt is that if you're opening a potential crowd pleaser, manipulate everyone required to facilitate a zero show at IIT. Seldom does one across such a giving audience. Yes, if the play doesn't work, they remain giving, but not necessarily in a nice way. Fortunately our piece went down well, and the response was immensely encouraging. Subsequently the cast went in for the first public show with renewed vigor, and worked some wonders.
Soon after, I rushed off to Chennai to do a show for kids. As luck would have it, the date fell within the Pongal celebrations, and as such we got to witness the slowest and most reluctant set up ever. Platforms took longer than the pyramids to assemble. Tea probably came from Hyderabad. A few hours in, I even stopped complaining. The show, as it must, did go on. And pretty well, with the exception of a legendary Ghajini-esque moment where a key actress forgot her character's name on stage.
The month will end for me at a theatre festival in Bareilly organized by a benevolent doctor, stories of which I shall include in next month's article. However, before that we made a damn quick trip to Pune for a show in a wonderfully cozy little home-style theatre called Sudarshan, also run by a doctor (!) who stays on the floor above. Perhaps now theatre is the best medicine?