It was crazy indeed..it always is at Thespo! First, the rehearsals for almost a month to make sure we don’t goof up on D-day. And then the screening with Quasar and Kashin (our honorable judges) staring at us as if they have no idea what we are saying or doing! They hardly laugh at your jokes, they hardly even smile! For one of the plays, Q actually stood up and walked away (to the loo I guess) and came back only during the second act (he left act one mid-way)! Anyways…personally, it was a satisfying experience for me as always. Why? Because I got to perform in 3 plays – all excellent ones, directed by very talented directors!
It started with ‘Afwah’ which happened to me by chance. My friend, Amol Parashar, gave me a call one night asking me to report to him the next morning because he wanted someone to read for a part during the screening. The part turned out to be that of G.S. Chaudhary, a smart-ass cop who finds out that there is something fishy about a social get-together of a few friends who share the second half of their first names with him (‘dar’)! Fun indeed! By the way, I thought Amol stole the show with his energetic, distorted (:P) take on Mahendar! Naveen as Rajendar, the guy who turns deaf, kept people involved and was funny in his deaf acts! Nidhi Bisht was her crazy self and was liked a lot by a certain casting director watching the play! And I must mention that Prabal’s direction and execution of the play as a quick-paced, slapstick fun ride was extremely entertaining and kept me as a member of the audience (my part comes only in Act Two) engaged and excited!
Next up was Evam Indrajit! This was a tough one as we had already taken a risk by choosing a classic! As Quasar pointed out later, such plays always come with their own baggage and we need to be very careful especially if we are gonna f**k with it! We were a bit under-rehearsed, most actors did not know their lines too well, the second-half was untouched, and everybody was nervous since we were doing EVAM INDRAJIT! What helped was that we had Nidhi and Manvi in the audience to cheer us up 🙂 So, when we got on with it, there were cueing problems, actors were forgetting lines (including me), etc. However, the good thing was that the mood was maintained, emotions were in place (I think) and we pulled off a decent show for the time we had spent on rehearsals. It was really bold of Nimish Surte, the director who adapted this one, to have even thought of doing so. The fact that he actually pulled off what he did in the amount of time he had just shows that he will go a long way! Also, Medha as Mansi was cute and sweet and I am sure she is the most beautiful Mansi any director would ever get! 🙂
Finally, the play that I had rehearsed the most for – HOLI! It had a cast of 9 actors (and 4 band members) playing characters that are very different from each other (like the colours of Holi). I played Basant, a guy with a lisp who has issues with his parents and gets rusticated from college for beating up the Principal’s nephew! This play went pretty well I thought but the director, Anuj Rawra, was not too happy with the way it went! That reminds me that I must mention how brilliant Anuj is! His implementation of Holi and his ideas about merging the band with the plot, the opening scene where the 6 characters break through Anand’s door, the final scene where it all comes together were simply… well.. Brilliant! He was very passionate about the project throughout its making and you could see it from the way he was running around on the day of the screening, arranging the sets, pepping up the actors, etc. The actors were all charged up and excited too. As a matter of fact, 3 of us actually got injured during the violent scenes! Exhausting but great fun!! 😀
As much as I enjoyed performing in all of these plays, the best part was the feedback session by Quasar and Kashin after each performance! They rip you apart!! They really do! But as Shweta pointed out, they do it for your own good. I made a note of all the feedback given to each of the plays and I realized that such is the knowledge, experience and expertise of these two guys, that if I use all of their feedback, I can actually come up with a near-flawless play myself! Of course, when I get that play to the Thespo screening next year, they’ll have feedback on that one too..feedback that’ll rip me apart, feedback that I wouldn’t have heard before, but feedback that will teach me a lot and help me grow both as an actor and as a theatre person in general!
It’s sad that the Thespo screening is over and there’ll be no more rehearsals everyday. However, that gives me time to go and hunt for more auditions, do other non-Thespo plays, spend some time with family! If one or more of these plays get through, it’ll be fun to actually take these plays to the Prithvi stage! If not, life moves on…and of course, I have one more year for Thespo..so I’ll try again next year!
Sorry for such a long post…it couldn’t have been shorter! Will try and get some pics of the screening and the festival soon..
Wish us luck!
Lots of love… Cya soon!