“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women are merely players”
When Shakespeare wrote these lines as the beginning of As you like it , there is no doubt that he had a theatre stage on his mind, not the blue screen of the movies, not the elaborate sets; just the actors, their voices, their emotions and their connect to the audience.
Ask anyone who has some knowledge of acting, how do you judge a good actor…one of the points that ll invariably come up is, how they perform in front of a live audience. Every single person who has been there on the stage shall agree that between facing the camera and facing the audience, the later is incomparably difficult. There are no retakes, and there are no prompts. When you go on that stage, its all you. Sure, there ll be some lights to set the tone, some music to give a cue, but there are no visuals to distract the audience, no scope for you to get away with a mistake for the audience shall spot you for sure and the finally, the most important, you shall receive your appraisal immediately, whether its a lacklusture clap to signify that the crowd is thankful that the act has come to an end, or a standing ovation to urge you go about it once more, it is completely up to you.
So, when I got an opportunity to work with Monks in Happiness to cover the IAPAR International Theatre Festival 2016, I didnt miss a beat in accepting the offer. My job was simple. Sit right in front of the crowd, blend in and shoot.
Following, are some of the shots:
On the first day I attended, the play that I loved more than any other, Leaving Ziller Valley. A play about the struggle one faces to identify what home is. Julia Rosa Stoeckl being an exceptional artist made sure the play went right straight to the heart.
On my second day, Aditi Venkateshwaran, the head of admin, my point of contact there and an amazing danseuse, and three other wonderful ladies, performed a contemporary dance about rediscovering our own bodies.
The play that followed was an experience that shall stay with me for a long time. Confessions of a Mask by Theatre Russian Stage (Germany), was a Russian play, casting Andre Moschoi and directed by Inna Sokolova-Gordon. The play was visually stunning and for once I felt, language was no barrier at all to the understanding.
On the night of the finale, they had Tom Alter and Zia Nath performing to The Old Man At The Sea: A Whispered Fable by No License Yet (Mumbai). The retelling of the novella by Hemingway was so amazingly done that for once it didnt feel that I wasnt there on the boat with the old fisherman, watching him as he battles to turn his fortunes.
With these, the IAPAR fest 2016 came to an end and all I can say is, it was amazing. So, dear reader, the next time there is a theatre or a theatre festival in your town, please take some time out, and go watch it. Often, you shall not regret spending those 90 minutes in the play.
I ll be off on a trip to Ahmedabad shortly. Hopefully I ll be back with some shots worth sharing. Till then…