May 31, 2019

My recent decision to join a theatre workshop proved to be one of the best impulse calls I have ever paid heed to. I have this wonderful habit of scaring myself of all the things that involves a lot of unknown elements. It’s like, “Listen Batto, a lot can go wrong here, so you better sit at home and do what you gotta do.”

But, this one was very similar to my Spoken Fest Mumbai trip. I had very little time to pull myself off the hook and so even before I could excuse, I was already there among 40 strangers inside a hall with 5 mentors smiling at us. The next 7 days went by like some ‘in-a-hurry’ set of wonderful moments all twined together as a perfect nostalgic memory now.

Team 3 out of the 4 teams which later was grouped into 2 teams with 20 members each

We began each day with a warm up activity which in retrospect had so much meaning. It ranged from random walks in varying speeds, to greeting each other in different emotions, singing songs, orchestrating a rhythm together, jumping on certain cues, shaking off the stress, creative instruction based actions, and many such thoughtful activities that meant more than just pure joy. Within two days, I started looking forward to the morning warmup ideas that the mentors had planned for us.

balancing the ball and moving around while dancing to the tunes

The days that followed had a curriculum well-planned to work on our diction, our level of spontaneity, our creative sense of reaction/response, breaking off our inhibitions, getting us to express freely, working on our voice throw, bringing us together as a team, understanding theatre etiquettes and how discipline and commitment are the leading factors to sustain in theatre even before being a good actor.

First 3-4 days, we dedicated 5 hours daily and later on when we decided to do two plays with two teams within two days, everything around us changed. Now we were more than just participants in a workshop. We all saw each one of us take our own responsibility of making this huge task in hand possible, while also helping each other believe in themselves that we are all going to pull off something like this for sure. Many of us started packing extra lunch for those who had joined us from different cities. Special mention to Seema who practically was the annapoorna of this huge bunch. She would pack extra brunch, hourly munching items, super tasty lunch for everyone, evening snacks, and even something to drink. I am sure we all are missing her lunch and her love for sharing it with everyone more than anything.

excess lunch even after instructions to eat light

We even managed to have a potluck a day before the show, and it was simply endearing to see how we strangers have come close and connected so well with each other. With little time to do the small talks, most of our conversations during the teeny-tiny breaks that we got were soulful and meaningful. Strange but true. That’s another reason why we all are missing each other now.

Though the challenge to do two big plays was accepted by us, but it simply meant that our mentors, who were actually just meant to take 5 hours of the workshop, will now have to stay back and work before and after the workshop to make this challenge a possibility for all of us.

just after we all received the script for the first time in our hands.

The four mentors Shakti, Tarun, Mayank, & Sushmita reworked on the superb script by Atul Satya Koushik to make it easy for us to some level, got us to practice 8-9 hours and never let a dull moment creep in. We all struggled in our own ways, some with the punjabi language of the script, while some with the delivery and emotions, some with difficulty to raise their voices while delivering a dialogue (very important for a stage performance), some with understanding the blockings and remembering it for the smooth flow of each scene. But with each mentor working individually on us, there was little doubt left by the time we reached the final show day. If not pros, we definitely were not amateurs anymore.

About Blogger : Anamika Joshi