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Jan 08 2013

The art of mastering the art

Theories. There are many theories on how to master an art form. Recently, I stood.. actually sat witness to an interesting method in mastering the art of acting & directing. The method I observed was to stick around an art form for a long time and to soak up all the nuances that gets sprinkled in your direction. Slowly these tiny shapeless droplets falls together to form a beautiful offering. The beautiful offering I witnessed was titled “CAN I PLAY GOD?

A beautifully scripted play written & directed by a good friend of mine, Venky. He had also acted in the play along with Amit, who is a brilliant scrip-writer himself. These two showcased what is acting, what is dedication, what is direction and, ultimately, what can one achieve through passion.

Can I play God?

Venky & Amit took audience-on-the-mat through a range of high emotions.

Back to how this performance woke me up to my theory of mastering the art form. Venky and Amit have always been just across the table & reachable to any of the students of MisF!t ever since I have known the two of them. These two guys are ready to offer their thoughts and, more importantly, genuinely appreciate a good theatrical thought. Let any of the batches do any performance, both in-house and/or grading, these guys are there watching the students of the batch learn, plan, rehearse and finally perform. In other words, these two have been part of so many collective artistic effort that they soaked in all and thus was born a brilliant performance.

Story and Stage

Stage

Brilliant stage that reshaped to million locations.

Venky, the writer, director & actor, has shown how a not-so-complex story can be beautifully staged. He has superbly handled the usually supremely complex non-linear story-telling part of the play with so much grace and ease.
The stage starts split. Then joins to form an inside (perhaps) of a jail cell. Then changes to a court-house to a family room to a firm-office to a hospital-bed to a kids bedroom to back to memory of his mind!!!!!!!!! How can a 12′ x 5′ stage be transformed into SO many places? How?! Ask Venky or better still, come and watch the play next time.

Direction

Non-linear story-telling in a linear time of 50+ mins ain’t a joke! If you doubt my statement read GOD by Woody Allen. If you can understand that play then doubt me else stay put. The ease with which Venky’s character moves in & out of a very distinct framework on the stage depicting stage & audiences makes you ponder. The flawlessness with which the story disobeys the laws of timeline makes you respect the artist. To act and direct ain’t easy but to act & direct in a play like this speaks volumes of this man’s capability. As I see, Venky has set the stage on fire and set a blazing standard for himself and a benchmark for non-linear story-telling enthusiasts (like me).

Acting

Students of theater & acting (in essence, every one reading this) sit down and learn. THIS is acting. THIS is living the thought. The graph! The flow of emotions. The switch between tears and smiles. Learn guys. Learn. This play was a treat to the intellect and pages to the notes.

Actors

Is it still acting if the audience is made to move along with the actor in his emotional journey?

I have had my chances to share stage with these guys & work with them at various levels. So, with conviction I will tell you, this was one life changing performance. I took down books of notes on what can be done if you believe. What Amit showcased was sheer hard-work and belief in hisself. The ease and control with which Amit changed emotions with one quick swirl was unbelievable. Honestly & without trying to flatter, I hope my future director(s) have faith in me to give me an opportunity so that I can (hopefully) imitate what Amit achieved on Saturday. Amit dude, I bow down. There are many types of acting and for theater what happened on Saturday is the kind I would pay for. Many might argue this would look over the top in camera and my response to them is “please go and watch “Chandini Chowk to China”; theater is not for you.

Improvements?

I want to add this section because I want to say this. This play wasn’t flawless but it was just 5~10% away from being there. There were no mistakes or corrections this play requires. This play just needs fine-tuning. Fine tuning to hit the bulls-eye during which they can transport the audience to a different world altogether. If we want to find fault we can but imperfections is where GOD resides. (Doubting me again? Isn’t Man imperfect? Duh!) With the touch of natural imperfections, this work of art played with the emotions of the audience and made many cry.

 

Back to mastering the art form. The last I knew Venky & Amit appeared on a ticketed show was at least 18 months ago (or was it 24 months?). It is said that artistic talent sans performances dissolves over time but with Venky & Amit it has leaped forward. These two have been spoken to, forced to participate, eagerly listen to and passionately argued with about theater so much that theater must have become their 2nd heart-beat. This form of getting better in art appears very exciting. Time consuming but fascinating.

Personal Note: Proud to have known Venky & Amit. Happy to have watched the play. Waiting to watch this again. Such a play deserves a larger audience and so Venky & team buckle up and invite us for the next show!

Note: All photos used here belong to MisF!t and have been used here with the artists permission. So, please contact MisF!t before you use them.

About the author

Praveen

5 comments

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  1. Sagar

    I do agree with the art work done in the studio.. It was quite well. What I don’t see appealing and moving in the play is that there are less of dialogues which makes sense and more of names. Though I tend to exaggerate here,” Danujay” name was called in for some 100 times and so was “Jawed” ..so was “NItha Dhanunjay”. All I remember was the names.

    I see a guilt bearing, weight on the dad’s head but the script was not that touching. The suspense which they tried to maintain was not worth 50 mins of watch. Yes, they are good actors but keeping the space in mind they should have toned down a bit.. All i heard was Names and Loud shouts which made me and most of my friends whom I brought run away the moment it was declared Done.

    I (we) had nothing to take away.

  2. Tanmay

    I really njoyed the act…the act is full of suspense and emotions….both actors are awesome.Though the location was bit crowded still I never felt that….I was sitting quietly and njoying the non-stop superb acting and emotions..I was totally carried away to a different world!!!!

    Well done guys!!!Good Luck!!!

  3. Divya

    I agree with Praveen. The two performers seemed like they have been working together for a long time. A well written play and the idea for the script was a very thoughtful topic. One would agree that the homework and the research that went into bringing the script to life was commendable.
    There wasn’t a low point during the play and it kept me on my toes throughout.
    The last scene with the different verdicts brought a wonderful suspense to let the audience choose the their own version to end the play.
    A brilliant job done and a heartfelt performance. Thanks to Misfit I got to watch a wonderfully written, performed and displayed Act.

  4. Goutami

    I loved the concept behind the play. At one stage in our life we all may come in this situation ‘To suffer because you loved or to regret because you had to let go’. And the emotions and the linkage between two strangers in this play was very well demonstrated.

    I do agree I wanted to cry along with Venky.. It was so real. And being a good friend of Amit and attended his one previous play he has shown immense talent and lots of improvement.
    The most tricky part was the change of frames and the places. Have never watched anything like this before.
    It very well deserves a saturday evening and much more.

    MiSf!t rocks !!!

  5. Abhi

    After a long time I have seen such a intense play. I can understand its extremely difficult to grab the audience attention with just two characters,but the guys did fabulous job. The story telling was extremely good and there was certain amount of suspense in every scene. Certainly in every act there is always a scope for improvement. But the over all act was extremely enjoyable. Would love to watch more such plays.

  1. Can I Play God – Audience Feedback – 5th and 6th Jan, 2013 | MiSF!T

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