Metroplus

Performance in the moment

V. Balakrishnan corrects the myths around acting. An alumnus of National School of Drama (NSD), Balakrishnan says that acting must be understood in tangible terms. “I battle the misconception of what acting and characterisation is generally perceived to be,” he says. The artistic director of the Chennai-based Theatre Nisha, set up in 2000, is in Bengaluru to conduct a theatre workshop.

Titled In the Moment, the workshop is organised by Ahum (art, heart, u and mind), which was recently started by performing artiste Anuradha Venkataraman. “It is a two-day workshop for those interested in acting and for professional actors,” says Balakrishnan.

Drawing from his over 15 years training in theatre, the Meisner technique of acting and his research of the Bhagavad Gita, Balakrishnan will bring to the fore the true nature of the craft. “There is a couplet in the Gita, which when translated means that you have rights only over your actions and not over the fruits of your actions. Likewise, acting is something you do. It is not about personification or becoming someone else. I tell actors you can never become a character. You can’t get into the skin of the character. But you can create an illusion of a character. Like any craft, the craft of acting has to be practiced.”

Balakrishnan stresses that the title of In the Moment is in keeping with one of the principles of acting. “The actor is always present in the moment. The actor must understand what is happening to him when he is on stage, how he responds to what is happening to them every moment. I believe acting is about emptying oneself and being in the moment.”

It was when Balakrishnan, who graduated in economics from Delhi University, was a studying for his Civil Service examination that a twist of fate occurred. “I decided to join the part-time drama course at the Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts,” he recalls. That got him hooked to theatre. After studying at Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts, he graduated from NSD in 1998. He was later awarded the Charles Wallace Scholarship to attend the International Residency for Young Directors held by the Royal Court Theatre, London. Yet he says that his theatre training is rooted in Indian culture. “My entire theatre education was drawn from Indian soil. I grew up with The Mahabharata and The Ramayana.”

Theatre Nisha has staged plays in Tamil, Hindi and English. “As actors we insist on not on manipulating the audience. We should be honest to the audience. It is about creating an emotive state between the actors and the audience.”

In The Moment will be held on June 27 and June 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Total Yoga Oneness Center, Indiranagar. Registration fee is Rs. 4500. Call 9886334046.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 5:45:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/performance-in-the-moment/article7358120.ece

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