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Listen – One tip on Acting

A drama workshop trainer once asked me why I did drama and I replied: “It is one of the few team efforts where the total far exceeds the sum of its parts.” Script; director; designers of sets, costumes, lights, sound, properties and executives of these designs; production coordinator, stage manager, backstage crew; front-of-house ushers; box office in-charge, publicist, copywriter, visualiser, artist, printer; and, of course, the cast. Some gathering of talent and discipline. All bound together with two adhesives: teamwork and trust. The play opens and the audience is transported and responds, reacts, laughs, splutters and spurs you on. Its hot under the lights, the beard itches, the costume knots up, the shoes pinch. Your fellows on stage look at you and at one another – in character, always in character – but you can see through it in close up. You are up in the clouds, the audience is eating out of your hands. And the the applause is deafening. It has happened again. You have given the audience what they deserve, what they paid for and what they expected you would.

The great Laurence Olivier was asked in a radio interview if he could leave listeners, with a tip on acting. He said he could, he would in one word: “listen!” I have told my cast before they go on stage on opening night: “You have never uttered the words you are going to utter…and, most important, you have never heard the words you are going to hear.” I say the same thing on the next night and the next…this is after four to six weeks of rehearsal.

Theatre is playacting. Its what children do as soon they make social contact. Remember “cops and robbers”, “office, office”; “nurse and doctor”. You do? Good.

Jagdish Raja


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14 of 20: The Odd Couple April 2014 . Written by Neil Simon Directed by Jagdish Raja . In this hilarious female version of The Odd Couple, Olive Madison, is divorced and living in cheerful chaos in her New York apartment. At Olive’s invitation, the suicidal Florence Unger, newly separated, moves in and soon finds comfort in cooking, cleaning, and fussing until Olive is reduced to a nervous wreck. It becomes clear that the patterns of their disastrous marriages are already reoccurring. . Featuring: Anju Alva Naik, Vandana Prabhu, Rajeev Kumar, Sanjay Manaktala, Roopa Rayappa, Rakhi Bose, Manisha Vinod, Lekha Naidu . Stage managers: Stefania Mangano and @halfacomic . . . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #allfemale #backstage #supportthearts #stories #shortstory #makeinindia #neilsimon #comedy
13 of 30: Dead Man's Cellphone September 2013 . Written by Sarah Ruhl Directed by Vivek Madan . An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man—with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Sarah Ruhl, author of The Clean House and Eurydice. . A work about how we memorialise the dead—and how that remembering changes us—it is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. . Featuring: Anju Alva Naik, Arundhati Raja, Tulika Majumdar, Ajit Hande, Vandana Prabhu and the dead man- Kanchan Bhattarcharya . Stage Manager: Rajshri Jayram Lighting Design: Gautam Raja Visuals: Vandana Menon Costume Design: Vidya Masand . . . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #monologue #backstage #backstage #supportthearts #stories #pulitzer #makeinindia
12 of 30: City Bang Bang June 2013 . Written by @gautamraja Directed by @arundhatiraja . Featuring @anirudhacharya44, @lekhaq , @rebecca.spurgeon and Vivek Madan. . The Bangalore of yore may have been lost to a rapidly-developing landscape, but memories of old Bangalore endures. Gautam Raja’s City Bang Bang re-kindles memories of old Bangalore. City Bang Bang is a series of short sketches that offer a fun, yet pertinent look at city life. . The production features some well-known sketches such as Damini the Damager , God, Ten Ton Tongue and will end with Pub Crawl, one of Gautam’s most popular plays. . The production was further enhanced by Bangalore’s well-known cartoonist Paul Fernandes’s illustrations of the city of the 1970s and 1980s. His sketches were displayed at the foyer and formed the backdrop to the play. The sets were kept minimal, and Paul’s illustrations made the sets colourful and interesting. @apaulogy_gallery . . . . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #monologue #backstage #backstage #supportthearts #stories #shortstory #makeinindia
11 of 30: Inherit The Wind. April 2013 . Written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Directed by Jagdish Raja . In 2013, @bangalorelittletheatre joined Jagriti in producing one of the greatest American plays in the Twentieth century. . One of the most staged plays in the world, Inherit the Wind is based on fact - the famous 1925 “Monkey Trials” of Tennessee. A school teacher is indicted for teaching Darwin’s Theory in his classroom. William Jennings Bryan, three times US Presidential candidate and ardent Christian comes in for the Prosecution and accepts to be a witness for the defense. Famous defense attorney and agnostic Clarence Darrow fights a lonely battle, where his only weapon is the Holy Bible. . Featuring Koshy Varghese, Jagdish Raja, Sanjay Iyer, Janardhan Roy, Shankar Subramanian, Noel Manasseh, Pooja Shankar, Ranvijay Pratap Singh, Anirudh Acharya, Arun Nemani, Pratima Mishra, Nisha Abdulla, Kala Rao, Sabareesan, Aryan Sarkar, Aditi Neti, Ashish Athwale, Arjun Nittoor, Tem Nathan, Vedanth Ramesh, Christina Roach and Ankit Shinde . Stage Managers: Akshat Arora, Christina Roach . Collateral design: @studioskydesign . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #backstage #backstage #supportthearts
10 of 30: Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From The Zoo (Nov 2012) . Written by Dario Fo and Franca Rame Directed by Kirtana Kumar . Featuring Anuja Ghosalkar, Arundhati Raja, Fizz and Kirtana Kumar . Originally titled ‘Tutta Casa, Letto e Chiesa’ (which literally means the whole household, bed and church) is co-authored by Dario Fo’s actress-wife, Franca Rame, frequent collaborator in his plays. She was also the sole performer in the original production of the play. The title used by us is of the American translation by Estelle Parsons and is a quotation from the play itself. . Originally conceived as a solo performance, the play consists of four candid monologues by four archetypes of womanhood — mother, whore, wife and lover. These monologues addressed to unseen characters, present a woman’s version of her life and expose the hypocrisy of all patriarchal institutions, including the family and the State. . Collateral design: @studioskydesign . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #monologue #dariofo #feminism #patriarchy #backstage #backstage #supportthearts
9 of 30: Valley Song Nov 2012 . Written by Athol Fugard Directed by @arundhatiraja . Featuring Jagdish Raja and @rebecca.spurgeon . This is the moving story of an old man's love for his dutiful grandchild. Buks' Jonkers is a poor yet dignified war veteran who is devoted to his vegetable furrows in a remote South African province. He is anxious to shield his dreamy, restless sixteen year old granddaughter from temptations beyond the valley. She is equally anxious to be a singer in faraway Johannesburg. Her self made songs brim with the longings of youth. . Collateral design: @studioskydesign . . . . . . . . . #throwback #flashbackfriday #flashback #bangalore #india #theatre #theatrelife #theatrekid #stage #productionhouse #backstage #supportthearts

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