Theatre of surprise

Published May 18, 2015, 4:03 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 4:10 am IST
instant drama: Actors performed on situations suggested by the audience
 instant drama: Actors performed on situations suggested by the audience

How often does it happen that you walk in to watch a play where the subject is a surprise for not just you, but for the performers as well? City-based Grim Pumpkin Theatre created that one hour of curiosity, when they staged A Night of Improv, earlier this week at Lamakaan. In an improvised theatre performance, as the audience members walk in, they write different situations on a piece of paper, which may range from the most awkward ones to the most unimaginable ones.

The moderator picks up a chit randomly and the performers are asked to create a scene based on the suggestion. This is followed by many more games that involve the audience. This does away with the “sleeping audience” phenomena and instead, you have an audience that is bubbling with energy, as are the actors.

 Talking about how they practice, Anmona Chaliha who is part of the group, says, “The games that we perform on stage are actually exercises that we have to practice to perform conventional theatre. They help us be alert and spontaneous. Sometimes, our friends give us different scenes to enact.” And their practice sessions are as interactive as their shows. “We rehearse from Monday to Friday, from 9 pm to 11 pm. We take in suggestions, time ourselves and we analyse how we can make it better,” says Sishir Sv Challa, director of the play.

Performing this ‘unpredictable’ theatre has its own risks, the actors agree. “We run the risk of the show flopping. But for the same, we rehearse properly and make sure that when we are on the stage, we are brimming with energy,” says Sishir. Anmona adds, “While rehearsing we are prepared for flops. We try many games and take feedback, the ones that we know won’t interest the audience, we don’t go ahead with.”



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