Not to Act
That Is The
Wifey said she was thinking of turning a high-brow with intellectual
leanings, I assumed she was talking of attempting to start
reading the newspaper, for once. I shoved that day's editorial
page before her and waited for her to start, saying, "Great.
Let's have a stimulating discussion once you're through."
saw her pout and understood.
"Something else up your mind, Wifey?"
"I want to do theatre."
idea. Let's scan the newspapers for some current performances
in the city. We can attend one tonight."
I want to act in a play." If I hadn't already exhausted
my quota of nightmare for the day the previous night, I would
have had to pinch myself.
you'd told me earlier you don't appreciate drama. You find
it lacklustre when compared with cinema."
I? I don't recall having said that. And in any case, I can't
act in movies, so why broach a non-possibility?"
I remember clearly. Six years ago when I took you out one
evening for a Chekov play, you'd said only aimless people
do theatre, and that it is the most boring form of entertainment…"
make up whatever stories you have to. And since when have
you started remembering everything I say? I also complained
about our near-tattered lounge drapery, and that was last
week by the way, and you seem to have no recollection of that.
Anyway, nothing can stop me from acting in a play now. My
mind is made up. And I've done some homework."
means?", I tried my best to suppress the scepticism in
identified this local theatre group that promotes fresh talents.
I'll call them up this forenoon."
what will you tell them? That you're interested in drama?
As far as I know, you haven't read even a single play in your
are you saying? I've read Romeo Juliet."
abridged version meant for Grade2 students…"
what? A play is a play. And try to be more supportive, please.
I know it's difficult, but you can try?"
get me wrong, Wifey. All I'm saying is, don't jump into acting
straightaway. Why don't you start with some back stage work?
Do you know the kind of effort and team work that goes behind
staging a play? Be a part of the larger thing, and experience
it from close quarters before taking the plunge into acting."
was a mistake even letting you know…," she sulked,
quivering lips, et al. It's a mystery how she manages a tear
or two so quickly with an equally poignant tone of voice to
match. The most efficient defence mechanism I've come across
so far. I shrugged and decided it better not to complicate
matters any further. When her mind is made up, there is little
scope for negotiations.
I saw her borrow four tomes on dramatics from the library.
She pretended to be pouring over them in bed, but when I realised
she'd been on the same page for over thirty minutes, I quietly
turned off her reading light.
the visibly charged Wifey rushed through her breakfast. "We
are meeting today. The director said for an audition, but
I'm sure it's a mere formality. After all, newcomers are not
expected to act like Shahrukh, are they?"
acts in movies. This is a stage production you're going for.
The two are different. But anyway, I understand what you mean.
But I'd still suggest you rehearsed a bit on your own before
going there. Few lines from anywhere. Shall I download something
that won't be necessary. I brought Shakespeare yesterday,
see? I believe in the best."
you so wish. But I'd still suggest you start with a more elementary
That's what you are, early in the morning." But of course.
evening, The Wifey looked peeved. Even while I was debating
whether to ask her or not, out flew her volley of profanities.
skunk. What does he think of himself? Just because he's the
director, he thinks he can dictate his terms…?"
like these, it is best not to interrupt her barrage with inane
queries of what, when, how, and so on. Such self-generating
monologues sustain themselves on the ammunition of displeasure.
Simple nods and a few occasional "hmmmns" provide
the necessary re-fuelling.
will he teach me about acting? He doesn't even have the guts
to direct a Shakespeare. What does he know about drama? Imagine,
walking around with a Samuel something in his hand and then
intimidating us with 'not this way', 'with more emotion' and
what not. Tell me, how much emotion can you push into a 'No'.
But no, he kept on insisting I wasn't good enough. Not good
enough, my foot. Who wants to act in a play that has not even
proper sentences as dialogues, forget about the complexities
of a Shakespeare?"
Wifey. You are fortunate he is willing to launch you with
a Bec…" But who's listening? And in a way, I'm
glad she ignored it because it would have been bad timing.
You know what he suggested? He said he could consider the
role of the tree for me. 'The tree plays a pivotal role here
on this bleak landscape' he tried his best to trick me, but
I stomped out of there saying, 'I will act only in a Shakespeare
and you'd better give me the part of Juliet. Else, the loss
stand this morning, The Wifey announced at the breakfast table
that she is planning to direct her own play where she (quite
naturally) will play the lead role. She said she's already
spoken to a few of her friends, and that she wants me to select
the play for her. I have politely declined saying reading
plays compounds my snoring problems. She said no problem,
she understands. Having spent a couple of days in the company
of great literary works, she admits her mind is already better
attuned to understanding the minds and problems of others.
nod. Silence is golden. And in the more immediate scheme of
things, it ensures a peaceful night's sleep.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004