Friday, 7 September 2012

Stage, Lights, Action!

I was bored. I scrutinized the walls of my university as I had some Masala Dosa from the canteen, waiting for inspiration to hit. And it did, in the form of a sticky flyer that was threatening to peel off the brick column in front of me.


it said. 

I think I'm a pretty dramatic person. It's an occupational hazard when you have as wild an imagination as mine. In 10th grade I was Hamlet and I tied my long hair up in a taut bun, wore some ridiculous outfit that men wore centuries ago, and lamented on my school stage in Shakespearean English. Zero fucks were given and I probably wasn't even that good, but still, it was exciting, I was terrified, and I loved it. I had stage-fright and still do, and I think everyone does, even people who've done it their whole lives, just that I don't let it stop me from getting up there.

So about 20 of us sat there in the theatre room, and there were 2 rounds, and a panel of senior students from the Dramatics Society as judges. Round 1 featured us having to act out something the judges suggest, for all of two minutes, with creative improvisation of props and our own dialogue and all that jazz.

Someone got 'imagine you're a middle aged woman going through a mid-life crisis, life is bad, you're suicidal' while someone got 'you're taking your dog out for a walk' and so it went. I was bracing myself for something challenging, ready to channel all the depth of deep emotions and look off into the distance while contemplating life and such- but as I was standing under the yellow spotlight, waiting for the girl to read out my part, what do you think she read?

'Imagine that chair is your boyfriend and talk to it romantically... and don't hesitate to get sensuous,' she said.
Yes. She actually used the word 'sensuous'. 
Sigh. Perfect.
Naturally, I found myself facepalming, and I tried very hard - really, I did - to maintain a straight face through it all. 

I got the dumbest thing on the list FYI, because the Universe has a crude sense of humour and always conspires to use it against me, so that I can later narrate its shenanigans to people such as yourself. 

I named the chair Ravi, and I wrung my hands nervously, pacing up and down in front of Ravi, and I went, I think it's time we took things to the next level, Ravi. The chair just stared back at me indifferently. So I was like, what's wrong? and held its arm. It said nothing. So I went on, your silence says so much... it's because our parents wouldn't approve isn't it?! But I don't care! I don't care about any of that!

And I flailed and looked at the chair lovingly, like an utter madwoman who was in love with a piece of furniture. 

It was hilarious and I was so sure I wasn't going to make it to the next round. But hey at least I got to declare my undying love to a chair right? 

Much to my absolute surprise, just four others and I got into the next round. This round was just a matter of creative miming, and -- phew, no more romancing of inanimate objects! -- I had to just mime 'rain'. After that I orated some John Webster for the judges. And finally just me and one other student were picked for Drama Club. Score! SO worth talking to a chair. 

Drama is fun. I think what appeals to me most about it is that it is your license to act like an insane person. You can get on stage and pretend you're a flamboyant astronaut and start dancing on the moon right there, regardless of the fact that you're not. It allows you to turn into a clown, a monster, a potplant -- it's the make-believe game you play as a child, it's playing-the-fool without being accused of playing the fool; and if you're lucky, you'll even get applause for it. 


  1. Congrats. Writer + Actor. cool :D Bollywood and Hollywood better watch out.

    1. Haha! Yes, I can see myself on a hilltop with 500 choreographed dancers already.