Theatre

I was talking to my mother today and somewhere thru the conversation we drifted to my early days in school when i used to take part in skit and drama competitions. We don’t call that theatre in India not when you’re 10 -15 yrs old. But we do take it as seriously.  We didn’t have theatre as a subject in school, it was more in the form of competitions and invited voluntary participation of students. I was extremely interested from a very young age.

I remember the first time I was on the stage for a play, I was in the 4th grade. And the play was based out of a village. In India in small towns and villages a common form of entertainment used to be watching this guy make his pet monkey perform tricks like jump over a stick, go through a ring etc. Just a street circus of sorts. So a scene in this play had a guy play same. I was one among the villagers who come and watch the guy do his stuff and then had to disperse. We all converged to see his act and then he was to declare that the show was over, which was our cue for dispersing and then he’d fold up his belongings and walk out. During the actual performance, soon as he declared that his show was over, the others dispersed, I was just so engrossed in the play that I stood there watching him fold his belongings and then a few seconds later I sort of woke up from the moment and turned around to see myself standing there alone. Startled, I ran to the back-stage.

Apart from it being a very stupid thing to do and a forgettable moment for an actor on theatre, it did make me realize how real theatre was and how i loved to watch him do his thing right in front of me.

I later went to the senior school and continued to participate in theatre. In one of such scripts I was playing the role of a brahmin priest. It required us to have a bald head look. Now the work around in the make up room was to have us wear a football bladder on our heads. The color of the bladder is usually close to the skin color for no known reason to me. But we were to wear that bladder on our heads and there was a hole on the top of it through which a long braid of hair to look like a priest. Funny it sounds now that I read it. The issue was that the bladder was tight. A tight-fitting, air tight rubber membrane like thing on your head on a summer evening in india isn’t the most pleasant thing to wear. On top of that the room we were sitting in didn’t have fans (I have no clue why we were made to sit in that torture chamber, probably because that was close to the backstage to make our entry easier). Oh and we were wearing polyester kurtas which are bad for summer season. They make you warm. In my knowledge there have been very few instances which have tested my patience more than this. I had to sit with all that make up and bladder on my head for a couple of hours. I finally got onto the stage and this time luckily everything was flawless. I went back home and told mom all of this and she was in splits. It still leaves her in splits.

I later participated in a couple of more skits and plays with a little bit of dialogues this time around. And then came the opportunity I was looking for, a lead role. The script was about a husband who has a very dominating wife and he always lands in trouble with her or something of that sort, I barely remember. We practiced extensively for that. I was probably in the 9th grade by then. And there was a moment in the play right in the beginning where the husband asks the wife to find him a glue tube to seal an envelope or something, and the wife hurls the tube at him, which he’s supposed to catch. Since the scene was within the first 5 minutes of the play, I was a little nervous still. I generally take a few minutes to warm up and ward off the stage fear. The initial minutes are a little nervous after which I dive in and play it out well. But this was the beginning and in the nervous energy I fumbled and dropped the stick of glue my ‘wife’ threw at me. That left the crowd in splits because it really helped the character get it’s image right early on. And I didn’t realize it until later when we’d won the first place and one of the judges mentioned this while explaining the decision. We’d won a competition where I was the lead role. I still beam at that achievement. It’s one of the few things I was good at, and had I known they teach acting as a degree in colleges I’d have gone for it rather than studying computers.

I later also acted and directed in a play in my undergrad school where there was a moment I blacked out half  way into the play and I was supposed to abuse the character standing in front of me. The dialogue went something like “Shut up you Idiot!” and I blanked out staring at my friend, not knowing what to say next. He realised I’d blanked out, and so he says in a not so hushed voice “Shut up! “, and I go “Shut up you Idiot!” with both of us barely able to contain our laughter on the stage. Gulping the laugh we carried on and of course that remained a story in the group for a while.

I think it’s the realism of a theatre act and mishaps and cover ups like these which attract me so much to the art. The energy of looking at the audience’s eyes and talk to them directly. To be able to look at a distance and say something, to be able to throw your voice, to interact with someone else on a stage for real, to choreograph, to understand a character, to live another’s life and to be perfect at that moment of deliverance without second takes.

I wish to go back and write a few plays and act in a few as well, and probably learn the art academically.

Drink up…

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Funny

We had a meeting today and one of the other interns with me is from China. I had to assign a task to each of the interns and wanted their names.

I asked him his name if he’d want it as Mr.Long or as Mr.Michael. He said he preferred Michael because he was tired of clearing the confusion on his name. Says “People ask me what’s my name. I say My name is Long.”. They say “Okay so what is it?” !!!

And then they ask me “What’s your full name?” I say “My full name is Long Tu”. So I prefer Michael..

ROFL…. I still can’t stop laughing.. I had only read internet jokes like this.. to really see someone go through that is super funny!! 😀 😀

Drink up… me hearties..

Day 14 ~ Ten things that make you really happy

Here’s the list..

  1. Chocolate : This is the thing most likely to make me happy. When I’m normal I am lifted up to the cloud nine if I get a wonderful Choco Fudge cake, a Waffle and Dinges’  de Bom, or Eden’s Last time ever I saw my waist. Any of these can set me rolling on the floor, sommersaulting and jumping like a flea. Essentially it’s my ecstacy.
  2. An adventure trip : A trip to a place which has nature or history to offer can really make me happy. I can do it all alone and still be as happy as it would’ve been with 10 real good buddies. It should be a trip out of home, that’s all that matters.
  3. Cycling : I love cycling at nights, when the city is quiet and you can see a side of the city you don’t see otherwise. I talk to my cycle and converse with it. (Yes i’m on the edge of maddness, with a hope of not crossing it!)
  4. Funny videos : I can go into splits watching funny videos on youtube. People falling, people doing strange things. I know it’s mean to see people falling and laugh, but hey! they recorded it and put it on youtube for you to laugh so laugh.!
  5. Theatre : I cannot even begin to explain the pleasure and happiness I experience performing in front of an audience on a stage, in the house, anywhere. Entertaining people when I have the material and the flow, nothing like it!
  6. Pranks : I love doing this. Off late especially since I use various VoIP services to call up my friends, I often become the Dell Customer Service guy calling up from Austin, Texas. Only day before I convinced a friend of mine to sign up for a lottery on Dell.com and then asked him to mail me back on the email You_are_an_asshole@gmail.com. By the time I got to the actual word dictating the email ID, I couldn’t contain my laughter and let it go.
  7. Birds and Animals : I love to see a bird fly out of nowhere sit on a branch / rock / ground peck on something look around and then take off. Or like I now do almost everyday seeing the prairie dogs out of their burrows, standing on their two feet and squeaking at my sight walking through the field to the bus stop. It just makes me happy to see nature at work.
  8. Writing Letters and Blogs : I love writing letters and receiving them. The concept of writing to someone in the hope that it will reach them and they’ll read it and write back to you. Enquiries you made a month ago, get answered today. You’re waiting eagerly to get updates on what’s going on in the other person’s life. So exciting!
  9. Surprising people : I love the look on people’s faces when they get or see something unexpected and something they like. I love sending gifts and them calling up and saying “Youuuu bloody fellow!! Remembered it didn’t you!!!”. Or just when they see me on their doorstep, stand there agape. Lovely!
  10. Talking to an old comrade after a long time : It is very cathartic to me. It just helps me believe in the concept of long lasting friendship and association. You sometimes stop thinking about some chapters of your life and they get lost in the racks at the far end of your brain. Talking to an old comrade brings those memory back again and dusts off those volumes of books you’d stored there for years untouched, unattended. Beautiful!

Day 11 ~ 10 Things no one else knows about you yet.

Already posted this and thought this one was better than selling myself. 🙂

  1. I love umbrellas
  2. I suffer with an OCD of walking the sidewalks and not stepping on lines, much like Jack Nicholson’s in As good as it gets.
  3. I have a problem with twisted wires of any appliance. I like them neatly rolled.
  4. I am able to register how people’s hands look.
  5. I always notice if people wear watches and in most cases what kind (leather straps, metal straps, gold or silver colored, big or small etc). Without consciously realizing it.
  6. I love the sound of ruffling paper on a microphone.
  7. I cannot resist buying stationery.
  8. I love watching letters getting typed on a search bar of a browser. (Like how they show in those movies where the protagonist is searching for something on Google) and the sound of the laptop keys.
  9. Clean hand writings impress me a lot. (In fact that’s how I landed on my first crush as an 8 yr old school kid!!! )
  10. I love twisting the ice tray to get the ice cubes out in the old trays and them dropping them in a glass of water or any drink

Weird things lead to interesting stories.. 🙂

By the By

Funny Songs

Oh I have had pretty weird perceptions of songs. Famous songs which meant one thing and I perceived them differently, very differently.

No Woman no Cry – Bob Marley

I first heard this strangely not too long ago. And I heard the first line “No Womannn… No Cry..” And I smiled. 2nd time Bob sang that line, I was still smiling only now with teeth showing. And my mom walked in and I said “That’s a funny song. Says No woman, no cry.. So true, isn’t it? ha ha.. He knows the secret for happiness !!!” My mom looked at me, smiled and then giggled before I realized she was giggling for something else and not my understanding of the song. I slapped my head when I learnt it was a song about consolation. No Akshay.. No Cry… 😀

Don’t be cruel – Elvis Presley

This one is good. A few friends were sitting in a nice pub in Connaught Place in Delhi, where a live band was playing. They start playing this song. And though i’d heard this song as a kid. I’d never ‘listened’ to the song as opposed to just ‘hearing’ it. I smiled. I said that’s a nice peppy song there. Until I paid attention to the lyrics and heard the guy sing “Don’t be Cruel to a heart that’s true“. Not VERY painful but certainly not the happiest song. But to think of just the music, you could do a Rock ‘n Roll dance to this. The Shammi Kapoor style.

Hotel California – Eagles

This one was an Ice-Shattering one. You listen to this song for the first time, you think this is one of those songs which talks about a romance between a guy and a girl on a nice evening in a hotel called Hotel California. “Welcome to the Hotel California.. Such a lovely place..” Perfect!!! and then comes the line which says “Some dance to remember some dance to forget“. And you picture a nice couple doing a ballroom dance and the girl lost in the arms of the guy. And then one fine evening last year this friend of mine breaks the bubble that lasted for so many years. She says this song is about the prostitutes in Vegas. “Stab it with their steely knives..” That was the stab to me. I was confused and got back home and Wikipedia-ed it. Boom!!! It was about the prostitutes in Vegas. The song was played again and spoof went the couple and in came the scenes in your head of prostitutes standing out on the streets wearing the mini skirts and heavy make up and the dimly lit rooms of a typical brothel. And soon you knew why he says “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave“. And you’re not smiling anymore. Or clapping after the extended guitar solo ends the song.

There are many more, sadly I can’t recall more at the moment. But this is funny! 🙂 

By the By.. 

Happy weekend.. Drink me up hearties!!! 

Captain Jack Sparrow like Captain Morgan. 😉 

Cheers!