Just like any other performing art, watching theatre – whether life or not – could transform an audience’s thoughts and experiences; it can be a strong, expressive medium for the playwright, actor, and director. Asked why the uninitiated should begin to watch plays, India’s top theatre performers and veteran thespians weigh in.
Based on inputs exclusive to IANSlife:
Ahana Kumra, Sir Sir Sarla’ on Tata Sky Theatre
Theatre does make you a better person and performer because you put in months for rehearsal. Everything is live, and an artist has to be ready to take whatever challenges come along. I always equate Theatre to Life; just like how life goes on, a play also has to go inflow. Also, considering the time crunch on OTT platforms and film production, the actor is expected to perform and give a perfect shot in one take. But with theatre, the artist gets to prepare for their character. Therefore, theatre makes you a capable actor.
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Makarand Deshpande, who is also my mentor, says, if you want to be part of a play, first one must watch a play, then watch a rehearsal and then understand backstage, which resonates well with me. I think everyone needs to understand theatre and how much work an actor, director, and the whole crew put into it. You can learn so much from Live plays, and I believe youngsters should experience this. While cinema is an important part of us, we must not forget that plays are an integral part of our culture.
Danish Hussain, Aaj Rang Hai’ by Zee theatre
Nothing transforms you or touches you more than palpable human contact. To see another human-being conversing, emoting, performing before you can be a very transformative moment. So, I think it is important for people to not just be passive consumers as they are in a cinema hall, but become active participants when they are in a theatre. They should feel the human immediacy and they should see what is the transformative power of a performance when it is being done in front of them on a stage.
Joy Sengupta, Dance Like a Man’ and Ladies Sangeet’ by Zee theatre
I believe, there is no art like theatre for the simple reason that the art of theatre employs every other art. Theatre has visual art, oral art, music, painting, costume, architecture in terms of set design, acting, dancing, and singing. So many forms are employed in theatre to create a social and political discourse.
Be it the battle of Mahabharata, or the condition of women in the 19th century, or the conflict within a family in the context of their social conditions, theatre can accommodate every story, every milieu, and every genre, and yes, all forms of arts. Therefore an audience who watches a play appreciates aesthetics, becomes empowered socially and politically, and definitely goes back highly entertained. What more do you want as a human being?
Mahesh Dattani, Dance like a Man’ by Zee Theatre
One thing that theatre offers that cinema and television can’t, is human contact. In theatre, the audience and performer breathe the same air. It’s like falling in love or having a delicious meal or smelling a rose. You can’t do these things without real contact as opposed to virtual contact. To some people, this sharing of air means the world and to some it’s insignificant. So discover what it means to you. You won’t know it until you try it.
Himani Shivpuri, Hamidabai Ki Kothi’ on Tata Sky Theatre
I agree that it helps an actor to perform better. I would give credit to the Theatre Industry that helped me mold into a more competent actor. I honed my acting skills through my training at the National School of Drama. it helped me perform across mediums like TV, serials, or movies. Theatre allows an actor to understand the character with time over rehearsals. An actor gets to perform different characters, which allows them to bring out their emotions as well as perfect their speech and body language. People who do not watch plays need to do so because there is a big magical world waiting to be explored where stories from different backgrounds are brought together that enrich you. (IANS/SP)