In Darkness We See That Hides In Light

In Darkness We See That Hides In Light

Photo by Marcus Dall Col on Unsplash

Recently, this potent expression, “In darkness we see that hides in light”, by Mr. Mukesh Kwatra in the recent Times of India Coronasutra entertainment section got me thinking hard. The last line of Mr. Kwatra’s poem on the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak was brought to my attention by my mother, a poetess herself, so she can help me understand the depth of it. And when I did, the essence of it remained with me through the day.

This year has been so different. I, and I am sure many of us, have never witnessed anything like this before where the world, with all its faiths, technology, and might is brought to a halt and is unable to cope with the challenge that nature has presented it. While it has been a relief to slow down a bit and consume less in many ways, it has also been tough in recognizing what we are going through in terms of our existence vis-a-vis our relationships, career, health, contribution to society, etc.

My generation has learnt how to get from being busy to becoming busier with all the technology that has evolved in our lifetime. Now when we are forced to use all of it by staying indoors, one realizes that technology cannot fill the emptiness that is caused by lack of access to nature and people one loves. However, one can hope to get some relief by looking inward and by counting our blessings, by appreciating what nature has given us and that which we haven’t had the time to appreciate thus far. And in these times of aloofness, darkness, see that we never really see – search soul, acknowledge the treasures we own in terms of relationships, friends, health, and the treasures we must seek such as peace, trust, goodwill, knowledge, compassion.

Today is 107th day of being at home and I have been thinking of all these things over the last few months. While life has been extremely hectic, I have utilized this phase to thank the cosmos for the innumerable good that exists around and that has kept me going. Here are a few things I am grateful for:

  • Having means to earn a living, and sustain
  • Having a family that’s always there for me (spouse, parents, inlaws, cousins)
  • A secure, peaceful, ventilated abode
  • Being fit enough to carry on
  • Friends that are there, yet are absent : )
  • Being able to provide sustenance to the house help
  • Having access to walkways I can use daily to connect with nature
  • Plants I can care for
  • The ‘giving’ sentiment God has blessed me with
  • Opportunity to read books that I have been wanting to read
  • The revival of nature, reduction of pollution
  • Learning to be empathetic
  • Being blessed with decent will power
  • Experiences that taught me patience
  • A fulfilling life thus far.

I will add to this as I focus more on counting my blessings. If you want, share your list in the comment and we can together realize how much we have to thank for!

A Play Needs More Than a Good Script

A Play Needs More Than a Good Script

Sometime back I saw a play that was based on the concept of how Mahatma Gandhi and Einstein were geniuses as individuals but weren’t as good as fathers. I am sure the written form of the play would have been interesting but watching it on stage was boring to the last minute. Even though the actors wanted to be the best in what they were doing, the gaps in the delivery of the message were apparent to the audience. That made me realize that a good script or plot is not sufficient to enact a play.

Play Performance
Photo by Pepe Segura on Unsplash

Based on my experience from the variety of plays I have watched so far, here are the top three things that I think could be fixed in the Two Fathers performance:

Keep it short  – Unlike the commercial movies which are deliberately created for minimum two hours, considering the entertainment expectation from the audience, theatre allows more freedom to perform only to the extent of conveying the message. It is a medium of subtlety. If the play is short, keep it short instead of adding dialogues that are not contributing to the plot. When the play drags, it is painful to sit through it.

Innovate to use the medium  – When the subject of your play is about famous personalities, you cannot portray what the world already knows about them, for ages! Innovate, research, and be creative in adding value to the script so you can show the audience an unpredictable aspect. Books and theatre are different mediums of expression. While books allow the reader to imagine, internalize and visualize, theatre allows the audience to see expressions live and use their imagination and intelligence to understand the finer nuances that are not being told or enacted.

Enacting a play right out of a book is not always a good idea. It needs to be directed well and the script needs to be tightened to ensure that the audience remains interested in knowing the final outcome. In the given example, since the two personalities being discussed are strong, the writer and the director could have taken care to show more than the predictable part of their lives. Everyone knows about them and what happened to their families. Now what? The characters could not portray the unknown aspects of the two legends and that was disappointing. Proper use of creative freedom could have taken care of this.

Practice and get feedback  –  Choose your subject/plot carefully. When your play is about famous personalities, your actors must do justice to them and deliver dialogues the way those personalities would have spoken. In the given example, while some dialogues were delivered flat, some were exaggerated. And this can be easily fixed with practice, direction and probably some feedback from peers.

I am not adding my review of the play here. The effort is to help new directors and theatre artists to gain perspective into what today’s audience would want to see on stage.