Experiences of a first-time actor
First time actor…ever! Playing “Merchant” in the Taming of the Shrew.
Growing up as a studious student, I always had a desire to be close to music & arts. Wide availability of Indian Cinema (Bollywood) filled that need to be entertained and sometimes escape the realities of life by the amazing talent & creativity of Amitabh bachchan movies. I did not know what else could I do besides following the latest techno fads or gizmos in Silicon Valley. I watched many early productions of Naatak because of my friendship with Natak veteran Rajiv Nema and now feel fortunate to be associated with this group of amazingly talented individuals.
I grew up speaking Bundelkhandi in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) which enticed me to audition for the role in Naatak’s “The taming of the Shrew”. I am still surprised that I was selected despite freezing on the stage and forgetting my lines, which otherwise should be very easy for an adult to remember. But, thanks to director’s flexibility and openness, all auditionees who thought that they did poorly in the first round were given a second chance and I think I redeemed myself then. Those 2 minutes on stage to be somebody else was an out of body experience.
Since then, I have been amazed at the entire process of sharing scripts, pre-recorded dialogs (since Bundelkhandi is new to most), and very organized scheduling of rehearsals which are not too taxing and are run efficiently. Being a first time actor, I was nervous and anxious during the first few rehearsals. Thanks to the patience of director and great support of very experienced actors, it has been an awesome experience so far. I am LITERALLY learning to act. It was after a long time that I had to read Hindi and could not believe that I was looking for search capability to look for my dialogues as a ‘Merchant’ in the script. Good old paper and highlighters finally did the trick. Learning about blocking, entering and exiting the stage, acting without speaking in the scenes has been a whole new world to me.
First phase of rehearsals has been fun. Looking forward to run-throughs leading up to the final performances in a month’s time has excitement and anxiety of its own. I feel that I am in safe hands with the production team, director, marketeers, and talented co-actors. Looking forward to the first performance at the Tabard theater in down town San Jose on March 14th. Details at: http://www.naatak.org/portfolio/to-sum-purush-na-mo-sum-naari-2015/