While working with a group of adolescents on a school theatre project, one of the students who comes from an artistic lineage gurgled happily “Theatre is a nasha. Once you are addicted, you are finished.”
That’s true. For over two years now, our theatre group has been lying dormant but I have been getting my fix from working in educational institutions. I help out in my son’s school with a couple of productions every year. And I am also called upon to do a course on theatre and management by the premier management institute in India which culminates with the students writing scripts and staging plays as an end term requirement.
Both the experiences have been extremely gratifying this year. The school production had Class XI students, a bunch of hyper active, intelligent and talented brats. They brought with them an acute perception of adult follies and were forever testing the facilitators. But in the last three days, they were magically transformed and put up a scintillating show. They staged their play almost a month ago but I still wake up on certain mornings missing the bachhas and missing the rehearsals.
Surprisingly, the management class was not very different. They too brought in energy as well as scepticism when we started. They too made it clear that they didn’t have unconditional respect to offer. Needless to add, they too kept their blossoming for the last minute. And to put an end to the familiar story, they too put up a great show for their final performance even though they were weighed down by work pressures, end term exams and the placement season.
There is something akin to magic in theatre. It transforms individuals from within and without. I plan to do a couple of plays for the public this year.
The addiction is back.