Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Microphone and You

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“To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.”

– Samuel Johnson

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All an artist needs, at the end of the day, is a chance. The greatest script could mean nothing without actors to translate its meaning to the audience, the best poem could be lying in a cubby hole in your closet, it’s not going to make the sun shine any brighter till somebody reads it, the clearest melody is up to naught if it never leaves the bathroom. So what does one do with creativity, talent and the earnest need to put something of oneself in a piece of work that most people think they can live without? Well, one puts it out there, by any means possible.

Open mic nights are becoming something of a rage in amateur arts and performance circles. And why shouldn’t they? They are unadulterated platforms of opportunity for anyone who wishes to experiment and has an individual voice that is worth listening to. From beat-boxers to stand-up comics, from actors looking to gain essential audition experience to singers who might just have a record deal cut right then and there if the right person heard them – open mics are the Mecca of the performers who can’t afford to launch themselves and are too small to approach someone to do it for them. Because, let’s face it, all of us have a need to express ourselves, to be appreciated and understood, and all of us need a start.

So, dear artistes, when you hear of some local watering hole announcing an Open Mic Night… do register and do prepare to regale unknown faces and plaster all-too-knowing smiles on them, because you never know who might be listening.

Waiting On The World To Change

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When did we get confused? When did phallus-worshipping populations start to condemn sex and destroy the evidence of people ever having thought otherwise? I could probably blame the British, but this isn’t about historically–correct politics. It’s about theatre… and it’s about sex…

We have always been questioned about the boldness of our work – been called an exhibitionists, voyeurs, sadists, heck even been mistaken for an escort service. Yup, you guessed it, our work’s of a rather explicit nature, well, explicit from the standards of Indian modesty and solemn comeliness, I expect the French surrealists would regard us Benedictine Nuns, and as we well know, association with sexual gossip at any point in one’s life can lead to the building of certain reputations, infallible public repositories of one’s identity, regardless of the genuineness of such claims. So why is there so much sex and violence on our stage?

When an artist projects violence in to a piece, it is a reflection of the personally and socially repressed violence that surrounds them, to which their perception and talent makes them especially sensitive. This isn’t psycho-analysis. It’s simple logic. So, for a minute, stop being sensationalized by images of rape, incest, paedophilia, coprophagia and other deviancies mentioned in the manual and listen.

Deny this claim at your own risk, but all of us have ‘dirty’ thoughts and feelings that can’t be explained away as mental imbalance. What are you going to do with those impulses – hide them? Be guilted into depression by them? Repress them? There aren’t any healthy options that reality can offer for the afflictions of the imagination. Art is your only recourse and whether you accept this fact or not is frankly irrelevant. There is sex on stage because there is sex in our minds – more often than not, not the roses-kissing-in-candlelight kinda sex. Art offers- is the only thing that can offer, a third-person catharsis to the audience and a revelationally empathetic venting for the performers and artists creating it. It is the only way to exorcise your demons; violence on stage (or art in general), is, paradoxically, the only viable solution to the world that we don’t need to be told is growing increasingly more unmanageable and intolerant and terrifically violent.

So before you prudishly hook up your nose and spit on writers, painters, dramatists, film-makers and the rest of our ilk, look around you – see that black eye for what it is, see that child pulling her dress over her head, see that Muslim walking with his head bent over his beard – and realize that the only way to stop it – is Art.

So, why is there so much sex and violence on our stage? 

Because… we do theatre to push boundaries, to go where we’ve never gone before, to break the mirror and drag out the reflection for examination. 

We do theatre to change the world.