I am going to pretend I hear a collective sigh of relief from all the people who have been holding their breath waiting on OQ, its new play, its big plans and the energy that it seemed to be generating as if especially commissioned by the Universe on its mission to save the world with theatre.
Yes, after our last update, I am back to tell you what’s happening on the theatre front with OQ in Pune City.
But mostly I am here to tell you that OQ is still here…
… despite the problems (funding, commitment, attrition, production failures etc) that it and almost every amateur theatre initiative across the world faces…
Ha! And you thought we’d become cynics, give up this whole shenanigan and become like, well, everyone else!
So here, in brief, is what has happened and what will…
1. Wishberry went downhill!
Crowdfunding is a brilliant concept, a literal life-saver for the neurotic, prone-to-suicidal-thoughts-kinda artist. However, it requires a team-effort and not just a couple of people who understand the principles and are willing to push it in their lives on the basis of their faith in their art. Consequentially, it requires people for who the stakes are figuratively higher, who are willing to go beyond personal compunction, who believe in the potential of an abstract concept and who are pretty shameless when it comes to asking for help. This is not as easy as it sounds – in fact, it’s not easy at all. I spoke about why that is in the last post: https://foodfortheatre.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/pennies-mean-a-lot/
But statistically, the way culture is progressing around the world, artists are going to have to get over it and learn to ask for help – or make like the Neanderthals and die out.
The positive of course is that now I am a veritable encyclopedia of ‘do’s and don’ts’ on crowdfunding and I would be more than happy to help anyone and everyone in every way possible through my heard-earned wisdom. The wheel has been invented people, now let it roll, baby, roll!
I drove for miles and miles and wound up at your door…
Well, technically, we took the train, but Kolkata, like the waiting lover personified in the song, was a mixed bag of emotion and experience that had more to do with my heart than the stage. But since I use the two things more or less interchangeably, I’ll just shrug, sigh and leave the rest unexplained, shall I?
The long and short of it was – we were invited to a festival, like we have been before, and we performed in a space the size of a modest bedroom to an audience of fourteen people. We still looked good though (jut look at the pictures!), people still cried and shook our hands unable to express what they felt (or maybe that was just the English -Bengali language barrier ).
For me, it is an experience I will probably cherish for the longest time for one reason of the heart and the other – because devoid of all glamour, all tension and all recognition, it was just the play and the space and the chance to give it all up for that one hour. Anger and disappointment, you bet it was felt, but it was all in the moment – that intensification of feeling and reaction that most people don’t even have access to, let alone experience in its entirety. But there I go, waxing metaphysical again! That’s not how everyone felt of course, especially the actors, but as an artist you deal with more rejection and disappointment in a day than most people face in a lifetime, so I guess you either learn to take it in your stride or you’ve reached an impasse and need to call it a day.
If someone wishes to write us off, I suppose the ammunition is up there, shoot away! But I’d be shooting myself in the leg if I considered this enough reason to give up and go figure a life that has fewer risks with a career as a door-knob or some such.
For those still here with me, with OQ… it’s that time of night where I must either turn in or become a flesh-eating zombie. I What OQ is going to do next (its amazingly exciting!) and how the rest of the year is going to pan out will be the focus of the next post and I really hope you’ll be there, reading and silently cheering us and our tenacity when you read it.
“I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: Turn back.”