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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reality Bites....

I have been discovering a phenomenal amount of circumspect, mistrust and apprehension among people these days. Not at me. No no... am good and in shape with most people. But most people I meet... I sense a sort of insecurity that gets manifest as aggression in their walk talk and body gestures, I feel very very moved at this inability of people to find peace in themselves. I am going to steal a line from Kurt "Nirvana" Cobain and say "I would rather be hated for what I am than being loved for what I am not!". And this "Rural Phantasy" is turning out to be a brilliant trip of expose for me... to learn people... most of my learning has actually come by less communication than more observation; but of course... I have been observing more than communicating and am glad of it. Well... it's not a personal post or polambals or anything, just that I felt like it. Also, it is interesting to see how people want to desperately connect with others but are not sure and hence they don't know when and what and how much to give or hold back! I am laughing inside watching all this. About the performance... well, what can I say! The public says it all. 3 shows done, 1 to go. 3 different responses, but not very radical as with some shows I have seen. That probably means, there is a certain amount of uniformity in the performance, as well as a certain measure of mediocrity. Of course, some people have condemned the show by saying they did not like it without spelling out... These people I know, but I refrain to elaborate more. As for my own self and my views on this show? Well, I will have to dig into the production process. I don't want to. Because then rather than being an actor my other facets of theatre artist would surface, not to mention the critic in me. And that may not me nice or ethical, since I am here primarily as an actor. I intend to do the job I am paid for and the rest shall be silence. Learning curve... ummm... I still can't dance and that doesn't mean I can't let loose my soul out there on the dance floor with gay abandon as they say. This is different. Probably my recent friends Tara Shreya and Swe were right in nailing it down: I still can't walk. You see, there is so much to learn in theatre even after soooo many years of being around. But what the heck, am enjoying my solitude at Rural Phantasy. Don't disturb it for another night. If you don't I shall do a proper "disinterested" - as Mathew Arnold would say in his "Tradition and Individual Talent" - attempt at a critique of the show.

13 comments:

Siddharth Razdan said...

Oh!

Srini said...

Pithy and interesting is all I can say within the clause of "substance" for the moment sir KK...

Will return with a more meaningful comment

Anonymous said...

as for my own self and my views on this show? Well, I will have to dig into the production process. I don't want to. Because then rather than being an actor my other facets of theatre artist would surface, not to mention the critic in me.

Steering clear of any sort of controversy,(intentionally or otherwise.. i think it is otherwise) aren't we ;-)

Krishna Kumar said...

Hahha... anonymous... thanks for daring to sign in. Extend it by printing the name. Am sure we know each other. Am not steering clear of any controversy. I am going to post a blog on this show. I am never one to steer clear or create controversy. Speak my mind and some pusillanimous people can't digest it and it becomes controversy. Way the world turns! It sure won't digress into a controversy even if I dig into the production process because inspite of huge cast and crew it got as good as it could. anyways...tata!

eyefry said...

From what I saw and heard (similarly, by observing and not communicating), there seemed to be roughly three to four clear streams of opinion on the Phantasy among the public I discreetly overheard - and I quote - (A) "the music and choreography were excellent", (B) "Most of those actors were wasted in those roles", (C) "Men are made out to be such idiots in this play - I wonder how they can sit there and tolerate it!", and, my favourite, (D) "A celebration of Mediocrity!"

In my own experience, the play was entertaining, good timepass and, pliss yexcuse, intellectually unsatisfying.

Comment?

Krishna Kumar said...

The truth is out there.

Well there are two ways of looking at the presence of the men. 1) Egoistically if you looked at it as a demeaning attempt at the role of men in a two-bit village from a male perspective with a male-ego then may be "how can the men tolerate it sitting there?" holds water 2) If you purely looked at it as a no-personal-politics agenda deal from the point of an actor's challenge to bring these caricatures alive, then it was fun. Each day, personally, my challenge was to see how much I can make this character memorable to the audience as more than mere cardboard stereotype village bumpkin. Due to this reason I was absolutely the last person to get the lines and cues in the right shape. But that has always been the task I undertake as an actor. I need to flesh the character out before speaking those lines. I do not believe in getting the lines and then discovering the feelings. How is it possible to speak someone's words and feel? It has to become mine. I have to become Kuppusami than make Kuppusami be represented by my words. So it was fun. Actually the prolonged laughter in our first scene at Ranganatham's house before I speak was discovered by me on the morning of the last show. I had brought out the near maximum out of this paambu panjangam man on saturday night. So where would I go or where could I go from there? That was the reason why I did that. In fact there were several days at the rehearsal I was feeling frustrated to speak those lines such as "So what if I am married" or "I will set my wife free" etc etc... It is just not me. So I had to go beyond my personal beliefs as KK and bring Kuppu alive. Of course... it was an aesthetic putting together of exotica in a sense. But in some sense this story has more depth than another heritage sales that happened a few months back at the same space. The difference is the script was written with song and dance being integral and inherent part of it. There is no way the play would work without those elements. It was total theatre in that sense. So it was worth the effort. But I wouldn't do it again because I am not yet ready for this experience. I need to learn and mature a bit more and I am not a singing or dancing kind of person. So I am not qualified to do those things.

I guess the fact that someone recognised that most of those actors were wasted in the roles speaks of the success in our endeavour to project our acting capabilities. We are accepted as actors. We are all in the business of acting. Except for Guru Prasad we are none of us dancers in the real sense. So there...

Come to think of it, instead of the usual tag-line "women are being demeaned, how can they do this!", "men are made out to be such idiots" sounds more real. That shows how much women emancipation has progressed. So, people are aware that men are being victimised as well!

eyefry said...

Granted. I also concede that on the whole it was quite hilarious. But I do wish the script had a bit more substance to it (I've not read Kalki's original story, so I'm not qualified to comment on the strength of the translation). The bit where you discuss the cricketer Naidu and the spoofs of the old film songs were pure silver. The fantastic music doesn't need to be commented on. The question ringing in my head is: take away the music, the dance and the physical comedy, and what is left? Of course, it might've also made a huge big difference if Lady Shantiniketan had been differently cast... ahem ahem...

eternal flunky said...

i enjoyed working with the assortment of ppl, it was satisfying to try my best to push my charecter beyond the two or three lines given to him. the full-houses (!!!!) were real confidence boosters (hopefully towards a positive turn). the red label and holsten shandy that bala fixed me last night was smashing! (still wish u could'v made it, kk) so over all i liked the process. i always thought from day one that it was a neat idea and a nice story though the script, i thought was as u say, weakish... but we did reasonable justice and i feel all's well... except some of my friends felt they got ripped off at 100 bucks.

Anonymous said...

My only query ...Did the script need that line on DYSLEXIA??? I was certainly appalled by the insinuation. In entirety, its individual performances that I appreciated and were well worth the expense.

G

Krishna Kumar said...

Ok, at the moment am not saying anything. But tonight am posting my next one on Rural Fantasy. We shall continue the args there!

iaaav

Krishna Kumar said...

And the photos of Rural Phantasy are now available at http://photos.yahoo.com/chandukris

CAST AND CREW AND ROMANS WHO STUMBLE UPON THIS POST PASS THE INFO TO ALL INVOLVED.

gitler said...

I feel that the play would not have worked without the music but then it was written with the music and dance in mind.Personally I thought the concept was really very good and i don't think anyone other than Gowri could have come up with such a visualisation. I have to agree with eyefry when he says lady Shantiniketan could have been differently cast.Anyone who saw the play would see there is not much difference in her role of the woman and Sakuntalai...need one say more.And yes all the actors were wasted in their roles.

Krishna Kumar said...

Yes, I agree bratty that no one but only Gowri could have written that. But I would not say the guys were wasted. I mean... I didn't feel wasted. Because, if you approach acting with that attitude, then you start with the presumption you are a prima donna and some roles are not worth the calibre. The only unfortunate thing about the roles in the play were they were subordinated to the story. But then, that was the whole idea. The story and the subtext were more important than the characters. If at all any character was important it was Shakuntalai's. I wouldn't necessarily agree that casting of the same could have been different. It was director's choice. And am sure, if the director wanted to and was capable of, she could have got variation from the actor. Now whether the director put in enough time on the actors... that is a question worth pondering. We were asked to act and given the feel of what was expected, but never given the mechanics! Gowri sure is a musician more than a director. May be few more productions down the lane, things might get different.