Cassandra or Maybe a Chair's Tale
That’s the name of my new play when translated to English from Bengali. So what’s the connection between Cassandra and a Chair’s Tale, you may ask! But I’ll have to disappoint you here, because I’d like you – the audience – to figure that out on June 9th and 10th, 2012. What I can tell you, is what motivated me to write this play. Or in other words, why I wrote this play.
I am kind of a person, whom some one may consider to be a pack-rat. I find it hard to throw away stuff. I tend to keep old and apparently useless stuff with the hope that maybe someday they’ll be of some use. Old magazines, gadgets, electronic components, furnitures – I have them all. My storage spaces in and around the house keep filling up with many such paraphernalia that I hardly use anymore. I find it difficult to throw away a perfectly functional chair just because it has gone out of fashion or has some nicks and cuts here and there. But I have also come to realize that I am not alone. There are many people like me who also develop a strong bond with their possessions. To throw away a piece of equipment that has served them for years, is like letting go a dear family member. Continue reading
Cassandra or Maybe a Chair's Tale
Producing a play involves a lot of work. But the most important job is to set up a team of cast and crew members who would take the production from conception to stage. The team should be in love with the project, and only then a successful production can happen. When the audience sees a play unfold in front of their eyes – with the actors performing in perfect rhythm, the lights and sounds all playing together in perfect harmony, the emotions and feelings on stage touch your hearts – it becomes difficult to appreciate how much hard work has gone into developing this final product. A ninety minute play to an audience member means ninety days of toil and labor for a dedicated team of performers. Most of the performers who commit themselves to such an arduous task, are not professionals. Theatre does not provide them their daily bread. Even in professional theater, most performers have another day job that helps them pay their bills. And in community theater like ours, getting paid is not only out of the question, rather in most cases the team members have to spend from their pockets to meet their incidental expenses. Then why do they do this? Why do they go through this enormous amount of personal sacrifice just to be on the stage for ninety minutes or so? And then everybody doesn’t go up on the stage either. They keep the cogs of the production running from behind the stage. What is their motivation? Continue reading
No, No, He is not the actor. He is the prompter. The problem is, he doesn't want to stay behind the curtain.
Prompting in theatre is now a dying art. Most theatre productions hardly use prompters these days. The actors are expected to memorize their lines before they even think of getting up on stage. But not too long ago, prompters were an essential part of any theatre. Two prompters would sit on two sides of the stage, hiding behind the wings and in a soft voice read the lines for the actors. The level of their voice should be such that it should be audible only to the actors on stage and not to the audience. This requires special skills. Also, for the actors, they need know how to perform with constant prompting going on from the sides. Hence prompters also need to rehearse with the actors. One of the greatest virtues a prompter should possess is to be selfless and not to look for audience appreciation. The actors collect all the accolades and applause, while the prompter need to stay satisfied with an occasional thank you from the actor. That too if he is lucky. Most of the time a prompter would have memorized all the lines of all characters and can possibly perform better on stage if given a chance.