“1, 2, 3…1,2,3…mic check, mic check.”
“Please improve the center light. Add more focus. Okay, its perfect now.”
This is normal for me every time a show is scheduled. The sound system, the lights, the wings, the backdrop are aptly adjusted and these adjustments gives me a royal feel.
I must acknowledge I am filled with pride when the auditorium breaks into a laughter riot, or everyone claps for a specific moment. I confess, I still experience goosebumps every time there is a standing ovation. These moments are rare, but they make my life worth surviving, for such a long period.
Still wondering, who am I?
“I welcome you all for this spectacular show, I am the Stage. I am a square, divided symmetrically with the center marked as a circle.
My sides are adorned with wings on both the sides. These wings represent my hands. They provide a safe space for the artist to rest in between a performance as well as cover all the apprehensions within him. A small yet powerful space, enclosed within.
Depending upon the nature of the show, the role of wings is decided. In a solo play, the wing allows the actor to move across and change sides keeping the audience guessing. In a multi-star play, they provide spaces for various artists, to make an impact with entries marked for them specially. My hands are humble, and ready to make the artist presentable, before the audience in every ‘Show’.
The ‘Curtains’ are my eye-lids which open and close regularly. When opened, how magnificent I look! I see my audience and they stare back. Every time it is closed, there is a palpitation amongst the audience, just to speculate what is happening inside? Am I right? Huge and red in colour, they add to my beauty and I adore them!
Lights add to my grace. This is the most advanced aspect which makes me look graceful during the show-time. Various colours, various options present me in a way better than I actually look. The technological development has added the necessary charm.
From being a mere ‘Can’ light covered with different colours of papers sticked over, to specific colour formation, the development of Lights is awesome. The focus light, the side light, moving light makes the Showman and then the entire Show, a memorable combination for the audience.
These days, there are light rooms with specialized operators and light boys taking care of these wonderful objects, whose aim is to highlight others. I still am, to witness a day when other humans learn this beautiful lesson of highlighting others in their daily life! Awesome, isn’t it?
My words reach to you all through the ‘Sound system’. Sound definitely travels faster than light. Advancement in sound system is much more than the development in lighting system. As a matter of fact, technological growth in Sound and light has given the ‘shows’ its due credit and help them grow as well. The dialogue of the show-man, the background score, the music played in between characters, the presentation of the anchor is all controlled by this powerful Sound unit.
Right from the days of its inception, sound needed a separate caretaker, the sound mixer and the sound stabilizer operator played a vital role. The success of Show and Showman surely depended upon sound quality and delivery.
One area, which makes me look more fascinating, is the adjoining ‘Green Room’. This room is a sacred space and generally located near the wings. It is the magical place where a common man enters and a Showman comes out.
The moment a show-man enters the auditorium, he checks me and my teammates – the sings arrangement, sound and light and then moves to this sacred space.
All facilities are maintained and managed in this green room. The make-up artist, the photographer, the fans, the visitors, is all given access of this Green Room along with the Show-man. Many a times, there are more than one green-room, depending upon the nature of the show and the expected guests.
The last, but not the least is the space allotted to you, my audience. My Lord, you are the prince charming of my dreams, my would-be bridegroom, and for making you comfortable, chairs are laid down in a semi-circle. Believe me, they are just a piece of furniture, unless occupied by you.
During a ‘Show’, the reactions you share, the enjoyment you derive, the emotions you go through are priceless. In a short span of 2-3 hours, you live a life here which is quite different from your regular life.
In case of a humorous show, you laugh your hearts out; you shed tears unknowingly when the showman portrays a strong emotional moment during the show.
Though I stand as the Center of Attraction always, it is the Show-Man during the Show-Time who takes credit. Sometimes, I do get credit for being the platform which has passed the test of time and stands with the entire team, during every moment of Show time.
The Show, the theme, is what we all survive upon. Howsoever, cute I look; the audience looks for the theme and they are ready to come in only when the theme attracts them. Being here, I have been a witness to varieties of shows and each show has its own share of followers.
Right from one-act plays to music shows to dance shows to magic shows, every art form demands its place and stands with a straight face, chin up and pride peeping through the smile. Though the Show-man, who wears this multi-faceted hat, takes charge of me and my assets during the show time, and weaves magic on the audience to make an everlasting impression, yet he nothing without us.
Having known me from close quarters now, let us peep into the life of the real show.
Today, we have a “Motivational Talk Show” scheduled from 11am to 2pm and the Showman is none other than Mr. Surya Pratap Singh aka “Sharekhan”, the undisputed trainer of the Corporate Jungle. This show was organized by the “Wisdom Group” led by Mr. Sanyojak.
As the clock ticked 10:45am, Mr. Sharekhan reached the auditorium emphasizing on his punctual behaviour. The huge serpentine queue outside the auditorium pleased him, and he pinched his moustache with pride. He entered the auditorium through the privileged back gate where all arrangements for a VIP’s welcome were done.
“Mr. Sharekhan sir, Welcome!! We are truly honoured to welcome you to our historic city,” said Mr. Sanyojak, gleefully offering a bouquet.
“Thank you Mr. Sanyojak. Where is the Green room?” a smiling Mr. Sharekhan replied.
“This way Sir, other arrangements are almost ready. I will get the final review done, and get back to you,” said Mr. Sanyojak giving assurance.
Sanyojak instructed his manager to escort Mr. Sharekhan to the Green Room. He moved elsewhere to check the arrangements.
On reaching the stage, Sanyojak was shell-shocked; the backdrop was not put up. He called the person-in-charge, and started blasting him as it was show-time now.
“How much more time is needed?” a blunt question in a tough tone by Sanyojak.
“Sir 20 minutes maximum. We just have to raise the backdrop flex and things would be done Sir,” replied the manager timidly.
“Remember, the entire show is at your stake now, I cannot spare a minute over that, ensure that it is done perfectly,” said a obviously raged Sanyojak. He had to do the balancing act of motivating his men and maintaining his nerves.
He visited the light room and satisfactorily found things were ready to start. The Sound system was managed by his in-house team. He reconfirmed that sound was re-checked and program could begin on time. The collar mikes, hand mikes and other accessories too were ready.
To maintain the decorum, Mr. Sanyojak directed the Sound Manager to play light music to soothe the audience.
After the physical check of the two vital elements, Mr. Sanyojak was relaxed but there were minor things which still needed to be reconfirmed, before he could give a green signal for start of the show.
Since the backdrop issue was getting sorted, the audience were held back, and not allowed to enter the auditorium. It was over 11am, and there was growing unrest amongst the audience. Mr. Sanyojak was called for to reach the entrance immediately and help in managing the crowd.
Mr. Sanyojak made a public announcement to people standing in the queue, to be patient for few more moments, before they could be taken inside the auditorium.
“This is expected at every Indian show, starts late and finishes early, the organisers need to be more professional,” commented one person in the queue. “Yeah, this is so frustrating,” added his neighbour.
Mr. Sanyojak overheard these statements, but preferred not to react. He knew, it was his fault and they had every reason to complain.
Suddenly, his mobile buzzed confirming the backdrop was ready. He breathed a sigh of relief! He was aware, the smallest of the things can cause biggest of the hiccups for the show.
“Thank God.” he murmured to himself, “Allow the audience to enter one at a time,” he directed the security in charge. Check the temperature, provide proper sanitization, also maintain social distancing, while taking them in,” he continued and went inside.
Mr. Sanyojak proceeded to the Green Room. Mr. Sharekhan was relaxed, enjoying his black coffee and watching something on his mobile phone.
Swiping through social media, Mr. Sharekhan invited Sanyojak to have a glance at the video of the program he conducted last week. Also he was looking at the response of the public on the photo uploaded. “I look handsome, right?” asked the Showman. “Yes sir, you are the King of this Show,” Sanyojak flattered Sharekhan glorifying his deeds.
Both had a hearty laugh.
“By the way, we are starting the show in next 10 minutes, you are ready, right?” a confirmatory question by the Organiser.
“Yeah, I’m ready for the show. Your team is wonderful, they offered me sandwich and this black coffee, as I had requested. Just let me know when to enter, and I will happily rock it,” smilingly replied Mr. Sharekhan.
Sanyojak did a few calls to check the preparations and was satisfied with positive answers from all his team members. He peeped through the curtains for once and was happy to see a full-house. He indicated the Emcee to start the proceedings and went inside the wings where the Showman was ready to roar.
As the Emcee introduced Mr. Sharekhan on the stage, the audience cheered and Mr. Sharekhan roared in retaliation. The energy levels hit the roof, and the pleasant smile on the showman’s face revealed his satisfaction level. The Show started with positive vibes all around.
By this time, the audience forgot about the initial hiccups and settled down to absorb the simple yet effective solutions suggested by the showman. There were whistles and clapping in between the show, as the Showman instructed them. It was a laughter riot with tons of knowledge, unleashed to capture the eager minds. Before they could even know, the first one hour had passed by and the commercial break was announced.
Mr. Sanyojak, who was in the wings and the most relaxed person on earth at that point of time, escorted Mr. Sharekhan to the Green Room.
“You seemed to be lot perplexed at the beginning, Sanyojak,” taking a jab at the Organiser, said Mr. Sharekhan.
“Yeah, it happens, my job involves lot of coordination and even though, I plan every aspect perfectly, the execution takes a blow and the goof-up happens. The worst part, is I have to undertake the responsibility and move ahead. Managing so many people at the same adds to my tensions,” replied Sanyojak airing his concerns.
“Mr. Sharekhan, I found you were pretty relaxed on the stage?” enquired an inquisitive Sanyojak, “Any tips for me?”
“It is not that I’m not nervous. There are a lot of butterflies in my stomach as well. I enjoy these moments, as the tinge of nervousness is a positive sign, of one not being overconfident. At such time, I smile as smile is a certificate of confidence. The only tip I can share with you is Smile as Smile begets Smile,” a crisp suggestion from Mr. Sharekhan.
He continued, “Every show has a different level of challenge. My biggest challenge is to present the same content, in different style every time. Serving them differently is their expectation.”
In this world of social media, where the audience has watched my earlier videos, I have to bring a newer and unique style, every time I am on the stage. This uniqueness, maintains my identity of being the King of the stage, hope you understand. I need to constantly evolve. Preparation is the key,” the Showman replied injecting a dose of confidence into Sanyojak.
“I agree with what your view point, Mr. Sharekhan. I wanted to express my gratitude to you for accepting my proposal to come here and perform. This show means a lot to me, personally. Due to the lockdown, things were stagnant. My entire business had come to a stand-still. This event gave me the needed push, and your presence the required confidence,” confessed Mr. Sanyojak.
“I feel that you (Mr. Sharekhan) and I are like Tom and Jerry,” Mr. Sanyojak said jokingly.
“That’s an interesting perspective, Mr. Sanyojak. Can you elaborate, why do you feel so?” asked Mr. Sharekhan intriguitively.
“If you observe closely, in the Tom & Jerry Show, Jerry is the favorite of public because Tom runs for food while Jerry runs for his life. Here, with this show, you will definitely get brownie points to your existing illustrious career, a few more fans and ensure you have good food.
But for me, it is a case of my life, my survival; my entire family is dependent on my income. While my son is waiting for an interview call to go abroad, my daughter is on the threshold of starting her own Boutique. Both need the platform to jump into prosperity, and I have to provide that platform. I cannot step back at this moment,” an emotional Sanyojak said on the verge of breaking down.
“Wow!! An interesting lesson, I will share this experience somewhere else, hope you do not mind it,” a happy Mr. Sharekhan replied. “It is time for me to restart, let’s go, Sanyojak.”
Both walked towards the stage.
As the Showman was waiting in the Wings for the 2nd half, the Organiser went into the audience to take their feedback about the show.
As he walked down the aisle, Sanyojak asked one of the spectators, “How are you finding this show?”
“The show is super awesome. Mr. Sharekhan roars in true sense. I had heard about his energetic performance, but experiencing it here is altogether different. You have done a wonderful job of bringing Mr. Sharekhan to our city. Many people here in the audience are blessing you,” an over-excited spectator responded.
Extending his gratitude for blessings showered upon, Sanyojak moved ahead. Just then, the person next to the previous admirer, said in a complaining tone, “Everything inside was great but the initial delay must be definitely taken care of. All things are very perfectly arranged but the queue system was a total put-off. We pay days in advance for the tickets, coming here on time and standing under sun for long time is not acceptable. ”
“Surely sir, apologies for the inconvenience caused. I will ensure that, this does not happen henceforth, you enjoy the rest of the program,” said Sanyojak in asserting tone and moved back towards the stage.
As the Organiser and the Showman, bounced back to their respective work to entertain the audience, I (stage) am back with you all.
The Showman, the Audience and the Organiser, have a different version about single phenomena called “The Show”.
I, stand firmly to handhold the central character ‘Show’ and enjoy the ups and downs between the master pieces in front and more often, behind the curtains. What seems to be a seamless effort is actually a mammoth task by various characters.
The audience is purely interested in the delivery of the show, and they are least bothered about what happens behind the curtains. The life behind curtains is a myriad of confusions, disagreements, and management, co-ordination is what every ‘Sanyojak’ thrives upon.
27th March is celebrated as the “World Theatre Day” and I proudly present myself for your consideration on this harness of “Versions”.
At the end of the day, each one is a winner in his own way – the Showman is happy for the performance given, the Audience for a few hours of relaxation during Show time, and Organiser for the financial and mental satisfaction derived, for managing the entire show flawlessly.
As for me, watching, and enjoying yet another action packed show, which resumes with, Lights, Camera, and Action, is Life.
So, the Show must go on…….
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2 thoughts on “Lights, Camera, Action”
Your tribute to ‘World Theatre Day’ in the form of Lights, Camera Action – Versions is commendable.
Your narration is quite detailed and gets into the nitty gritty of Theatre Land which we normally take for granted.
Standing Ovation to a brilliant performance Vishy — Take A Bow
An engaging story with a theatrical effect. The final version the stage is a reminder of Mera naam joker- the show must go on.