Friday, May 28, 2010

A Naatak Newcomer’s Journey : A new reference point

When we first started practicing for Tughlaq, I was excited and enthusiastic. I was still experiencing the thrill of getting the part of Tughlaq’s Step-mom. In a narcissistic way, I think most actors enjoy this beginning part of the play process – you’ve just bagged a part, you’ve “beaten out” all the others at the auditions, the play date seems far far away, you’re meeting new people and old friends, you’re beginning to act out scenes, experiment, you’re working on your costume and makeup and anything is possible.

But two weeks from opening night, I feel different. I obsess over every scene, every line, every blocking movement, every mannerism, every projection point in the dialogue… Opening night is near, run-throughs are going on and the pressure is on. I really felt the pressure at last week’s run-through (May 26th) and could not figure out the main trigger. Of course, the approaching show-date is an obvious one. And then it hit me – the bar is raised.

Before Naatak, my reference point were non-actors – folks who are highly skilled in a lot of different fields where they could put me to shame - but not necessarily always in the field of acting.

After Naatak, my reference point is the other actors – of course, we are one team, everybody is cooperative and helpful. But come on, comparison is only human. Its not like I want to “beat them”, I try to be like them, I yearn to be like them, I aim to be like them. And when I see how far I have to go, I realize that my acting sucks.

So what’s the positive here? Well, I am also INSPIRED to be like them, I am ENCOURAGED to be like them and am also ENABLED to be like them. They observe, they give constructive feedback, they help me improve and most importantly, they spend the time to help me out.

So now I’ve established a new reference point – myself Pre Naatak. With all the help I’ve received from the Naatak actors, I will be able to act better than Manisha – Pre Naatak and “beat her”. Now, that will feel great.

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