A passion for acting and the stage brings out the best in any actor, seasoned or amateur. The same held true for all the 11 actors who took to the stage at Phoenix Arena on Saturday. The artistes were performing for the very first time in their lives after completing a production-oriented workshop with Samahaara theatre group.
Titled Jaanch Padtal, the socio-satirical comedy play, based on Nikolai Gogol’s The Inspector General, has been adapted in Hindi by Dr Sanjay Sahay and directed by Sandeep Sahu. Reflecting upon several social issues and responsibilities, the play depicts the life of the mayor of a small town in Bihar who is friends with other corrupt officials. As the story progresses, it becomes clear how their lives turn topsy-turvy after they learn about the impending arrival of the inspector general, who would look into their work.
Sandeep, the director of the play elaborates on the challenges the team faced. He says, “We wanted the play to be in chaste Bihari slang and most of the actors were from a pure Telugu-speaking background. So getting the right dialect was difficult. But everyone was up for the challenge and after two months of rehearsals, we got everything in place.”
For Rathna Shekar Reddy, founder of Samahaara, getting the newbies to leave behind the jitters was a task. “After a lot of motivation and pep talk, the team felt good to go. We are also planning three other shows of the play. Once they get the taste of what’s it like being on stage, the feeling of having cold feet goes away. They will learn that every play, every place and every audience is different,” he explains.
Akshay, who played the role of the corrupt mayor, shares, “Getting into the character was a challenge given the language barrier. But as an actor, it is what we strive for — to surpass the hurdle with flying colours.” Nishant, who played the role of a servant, says, “We had to tune our minds to fit into the character. As I play the role of a servant, I had to get myself acquainted to the lingo and postures.”
Biswajit Roy, an IT employee who donned the hat of a corrupt civil surgeon in the play, feels that the production-oriented workshop by Samahaara is the perfect platform to learn the basic nuances of acting.
And for another actor, Sandeep, who is generally behind the camera for direction and editing, the stint in front of the camera gave him a new lease of life. “After I am done with my studies in filmmaking and editing, I will concentrate on both fields like an all-rounder,” he states with a smile.