It happened again. The situation that I try to avoid every time, happened again. Yet again, in-spite of my efforts, my life came to a standstill.
Pending bill payments, pending document submissions and claims, out of contact with friends, house owner looking frantically for me to pay the rent, forgetting to make calls back home, and on and on. And the list does not seem to end. In a nutshell, my life came to a standstill yet again. Not because I was unwell or busy at office or out of town, but because I was doing what I love doing most – Working towards putting up a Play. And it always happens whenever I do a Play.
You may ask, Why? Are you the Director of the Play? Or is it that you have Directed all the Plays you have performed in? How can only your life become suddenly so focused towards that one thing? It’s the Director who is supposed to have the sleepless nights, and no one else, right?
My answer would be a stark – No.
And this post would basically be centered around my experiences of working in the play – Can “I” Play God. Not from an Actor’s perspective, but simply from the perspective of a member of the team of Can “I” Play God. And I will try to justify the fact that no matter whether you are the Director, or an Actor, or helping with the Lights or Art or anything, it’s the “Collective effort of All and the Standstill like situation, is what Moves and Makes a Play”.
To begin with, Can “I” Pay God is an Original piece of Art. Which means it needed to be Original, not only in Story, Script, and Direction, but also in Set Design, Light Design and it’s entire representation.
Ya you can turn around and say – Why put in so much effort to produce something Original?
I would say – I get a high in being involved in the creation of something, which no one else has done. And it’s not something that I can make you understand, it’s something that I feel, believe in, and cherish.
So when Ratan Sir explained to us the idea of the Set Design, the first question that came to my mind was – How?
And what followed in the next one month was basically an answer to that.
The Set was to be made like a painting. I wouldn’t give much details here about the purpose of doing that. For that, you need to come and watch the play. 🙂
Jokes apart, that itself was too much for me to imagine. A painting, with colorful Chairs and Tables, a piece of Architecture symbolizing Justice, Frames, and a unique Light Design to create a desired effect. So far so good, but How?
And the first step was to acquire the tables and chairs, because we cannot rent it out since we were planning to paint it. Which also meant buying good looking furniture, which can fit the budget and can be painted. Lucky enough we managed to get some good old stuff in a few days time. And then the Art team led by Dipti Dinesh took over. And in no time the vision of Ratan Sir started turning to reality. With colors of blue, and yellow, and green and red splashed across the tables and chairs, it looked very classy. A painting in the making. And as the day of the show started coming closer, the Crew swung into full action.
Be it Getting new Curtains stitched to suit the background, Fixing it across the Stage, Pinning it with proper gathers, Putting up the Flexes to cover the white walls, Putting up the Curtains to cover the section behind the Audience, Painting a life size tree to create a certain effect, Multiple color and gloss coating on tables and chairs, Coloring of frames, Specific lights to create an ambiance for Audience Seating.
Huh!! In short, every details was taken care of, of course with a purpose.
And like what my senior Namrta Dhar says – “It was a mad rush”.
A rush, by the end of which what resulted was something extremely beautiful. The Set looked like a painting being displayed in an Auditorium.
Then the next challenging thing was to implement the Light Design. Which meant getting extra canisters, apart from the existing ones, fixing them, adjusting them, with different combinations of angles and filters.
And once the Design was implemented, the effect was simply mind-blowing. Truly beautiful.
Actors turning into Backstage Crew to put up things, on the day of the show, has been heard many a times, but Actors turning into Painters and Electricians, and working for weeks, was something that I had never witnessed before.
Every single aspect was implemented from scratch, and the end product was indeed visually extremely beautiful.
If that was not sufficient, the crew handled the ticketing, posters, publicity, generators, mats, cleaning, Audience and every single thing that was required for putting up this Play.
Be it the Artwork by Dipti Dinesh, Lights by Namrta Dhar & Vishal Nair(Vishal actually came down from Mumbai to help with this Play), Music by Vishal Nair & Ankit Bhardwaj, Vocals by Akshay Datta, Stage Management by Aravind Iyer, Kavita Vishwanathan, Ankit Bhardwaj & Krishnan Suresh, Front Office by Kavita Vishwanathan, Aravind Iyer & Rakhi Bose, Frames by Lakshman Lakshminarayana, Videography by Belliraj, Photography by Krishnan Suresh & Aravind Iyer, BackStage Crew – Archana Shetty, Devanand Mahakud, Soumya Nayak, Chethan G Satheesh, Munna Ramesh, Richa Mishra and all the above,
the entire production was handled by “Actors”, students of Misf!t across batches, the same Actors who have performed in that studio at some point of time or the other.
Thanks to Sachin Rao, from Outlaw Dance Company, for the Studio Space.
Thanks to the Director of the Play – Venkatesan Vaidyanathan and thanks to the Director of Misf!t – Ratan Thakore Grant, for giving all of us a chance to be a part of something very beautiful and unique.
I will wait for my life to go into another Standstill. Till then, memories to be cherished. And Gratitude to all.