Sunday, September 8, 2013

A summer with SPOT

SPOT stands for Summer Project On Theatre, an initiative by Bangalore Little Theatre. Each summer for nearly, the last 30 odd years, Vijay Padaki, cobbles together a set of rank amateurs - and takes them through 12 weeks of training. At the end of 12 weeks, these amateurs star in an amateur theatre production. Impossible as that may sound, he has done it - for nearly 30 years now.

The fact that Vijay has done so for 30 odd years means that is safe to suggest that if anyone landed there, he can make an actor out of you. An amateur actor - and show you the gate - through which you walk in case you want to continue the pursuit of this field further.

And that is what I did. Showed up on a Sunday in May to sign up for SPOT 2013.

Many of my friends have been part of SPOTand have come back with amazing experiences.I myself watched a couple of their plays and found them to be quite mind blowing.

Imagine that you part of a training that is also a project. Imagine that you will be taken through a series of exercises where you work with yourself and others. The training is structured - though you as a participant will not know what is coming next. But each week, you will progress - bit by little bit. Of course, you need to work. And you need to participate. But once you have committed internally, the rest of the journey will happen. And in the end, the project takes shape with practically everything you learnt in the training. (As an aside this is an interesting model for trainings, but thats another thought for another day.)

Work with your body. Move. Dance. Stretch. Exercise. Explore body states.
Work with your voice. Sing. Stretch those vocal chords. Shout. Whisper.
Work with your mind. Get out and participate. Get out of your tortoise shell. Work with yourself.

And over 12 weeks, challenge yourself and slowly but surely, you reach the end of the project with an amateur play to show for yourself. And the trainers push you to go beyond your comfort zones every single day of those 12 odd spot sessions.

Then you rehearse. With the stage settings. With the moves blocked out. Work on your dialogues.

On stage, whispers are by action only - the voice is still, a shout. Stage angles, body states, actions, dragging legs, limp hands...little by little, you work your character on stage...

And, yes, like in all learning efforts, you go through a learning curve that is at times demanding, has its inflection points, but finally, you will have your own eureka, breakthrough moment that will see you through...

How cool is that? More on this later...

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