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.
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
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).
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.
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.”
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.