It's on my radar this month, next month and the month after. Those that say it's a dying art, are exaggerating! More and more artists have innovated with the medium, making it visually alive and more vibrant than ever.
I mean let's think of the stage actor Naseerudin Shah, he makes the mundane look revelatory. I remember seeing him way back in the play, Waiting for Godot. A two actor play. It was funny, surreal and brilliant. Like jostling for space in a cloud of anxiety. A bit like today's Art, that is dark, grotesque and funny. That s why I say, theatre is sexier than ever! It reveals layers of yourself. It gives you the real feel of a "fan" following. It is not "solitary" and personal-- it's also eccentric and "audience driven".
When it comes to the stage, you have to go with your gut! Workout with yourself, and understand yourself at a deep level.
Theatre is a place where you can make some noise! A colleague, co-actor I met from Poland had an interesting way of describing actors-- "a merry band of cool talents on board"! You know he went on to say, it's where you discover your individuality and sexuality. I loved the work he told me he was doing, working with corporates, taking their message into street theatre. "You know we look to the subway for inspiration "! Sounded like fun, to keep the joy alive. Like hopping on a subway, four actors act out a module between three tube stops and then they exit... For example: The idea could be to speak for or against abortion. Involve the audience/ commuters. Leave an opinion behind... Or to speak about gender inequality. Theatre on the run! Imagine this-- getting inspiration from life around you! Being an actor "on ground", is much more difficult than one would think.
Another brilliant stage actor, who learnt his craft onstage, is Boman Irani. I saw him in a play, I am not Baji Rao... it was just superb. Again there were two actors, in their mid forties perhaps. Sitting on a park bench, speaking about life. It's vicissitudes. I was blown away by how simple the story was and what an insight into the layers of life!
When I watch a simple play with great insights into life, it's like a red carpet moment! The natural world that is dazzling but we don't see it, because we have lost our sense of wonder, lost our sense of humour, lost our perspective! What theatre partners best with is conflict, failure, the negatives, the grey zones... that we all move through. That we don't come out whole. That aspect of ourselves that is frazzled, fragile, frightened! When Life comes crashing down around them, actors play the role best. A failing marriage, acrimony, children in therapy, family court scenes, clandestine love affairs gone awry.. all make for great drama! The audience watches in awe. As actors move like gymnasts between emotions!
As for the actor, between the curtain coming down and the handshakes, something deep down in his soul stirs.
For actors, there is no other choice... it's in the acting that life is lived out. That's the great work!
(Theatre Director & Author)