‘The Stage is Calling my Name’

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It is often said about a particular field of art, that it possesses the ability to completely uproot one’s existence and redefine every fibre that casts itself upon one’s skin.

Tall claims for something that’s free, you may say.
But then, claims to be someone else and breathe in the light of their emotions, might just be taller.
I speak of acting, and the unparalleled world of theatre.

Today I speak of how the stage lights shimmer, of how they glimmer and quietly set my world on fire; with their quiet glory.

I speak of the freezing wood that numbs my biting off-stage concerns and transmits music into my feet; with its grounded majesty.

I speak of the wings, that save whispers uttered by actors centuries ago, and watch lives rise and fall on stage; with their humble eminence.

Just so we have this established, I firmly believe that no artist is ever as great as his art, to be able to write about it. But I must reveal that I am doing this solely because I see it as the only way to engrave a part of myself on the face of the earth. For when a few odd decades later, when an older, drier and more cemented version of my heart lets its glance fall upon these words, it is reminded of a better, brighter time. Of an era of art.

Well, acting, like writing, typically divides itself into two branches; the raw branch, which is theatre and the mechanical branch, that is, cinema.
While a film lives on forever on celluloid, reaches a wider audience and earns not only in monetary terms, but in recognitional terms too, a play or theatrical representation sees uncanny amount of power in its performances. Yet, it isn’t able to reach even the most miniscule fraction of the audience a film reaches. And consequently, isn’t able to earn like a film either. Films have higher budgets, larger teams, better equipment, the ability to shift locations and edit their errors and what not. A plausible comparison simply cannot be drawn. For theatre artists, everything in a film is an unachievable target; especially the number of people who see them. You could call them foolish dreamers or pity their plight or whatever floats your boat.

But the truth is, none of the rewards really concern them. Because these actors are debtless, selfless human beings. In fact, I’m not even sure if they’re human at all. They’re wise old sages, with minds above audiences and money, and fame and recognition.
That’s not what they do it for. They don’t want any of that. And I quote the reason for this, “If you constantly require fame and recognition for what you love to do, it’s not what you love to do.” For they love what they do too much to see anything beyond it. All they really want is to be on stage. That’s about it.

And when on stage, all they want is to do justice to their character’s emotions; to bring alive all of their thoughts and feelings; to recreate a mortal moment, to transfer themselves to another world.  Their minds function in another dimension. Their fragile, ephemeral souls, constantly refashion into novelty.

Actors are very impressionable people, or some would say, suggestible people. We are trained to develop aspects of our memories that are more emotional and sensory than intellectual. The general public often wonders how actors remember their lines. What’s more remarkable to me is how actors remember, recall and reiterate feelings and sensations. The body has a memory, just as the mind does. The heart has a memory, just as the mind does. The act of speech is a physical act. It is powerful enough that it can, with the rest of the body, create a kind of a cooperative dance. That dance is a sketch of something that is inside a person, and cannot by fully revealed by words alone. Some of us create the illusion of being other people by re-enacting something they had said as they had said it. For some of us, variation plays a key role. Because they say, “If you don’t add to the script, as an actor, what’s the difference between you and a newsreader?”
Well, yes.
The characters live inside of you and you create a lifelike portrayal of the character through the process of realizing your own similarity to it. The spirit of acting is to travelfrom the self to the other and at the same time convince yourself that you are the ultimate home of the character.

Theatres are curious places. Magicians trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramatic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd, are routine occurrences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, political intrigue, lucrative businesses, clandestine assassinations, romance of the dreams and of course, “Curtain.”

“I wish that when I go, I go from here, from the stage.”
-Supriya Pathak

About The Author

Samreen Chabra

Samreen Chabra (MCM College 36)

18 years old. Writer. Theatre Artist. As a writer I don’t restrict myself at all and experiment with genres as much as I can. Writing for me has always been about introducing a new line of thought, or just something to ponder upon. More precious than the content, is the feeling that comes along with it. And I hope to give my readers the same heartening experience.

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