Theatre, the mirror image of the society

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Theatre is essentially the reflection of real life, an imitation of the real world. Since ages, theatre has played an important role in every society. It the mirrors the society of the given times, the people and their ways of life! One can look back to the theatrical presentations of a particular age and learn a lot about the social and cultural conditions which prevailed during those times. Just like a man who has never seen himself in a mirror doesn’t know how he looks, a culture without theatre wouldn’t know what it’s made of.

When we look back to the theatrical productions of Christopher Marlowe or William Shakespeare, the dominance of the royal family becomes eminent. They also present the particular essence of the romanticism which was much in vogue during those times (around the 16th Century). If we move forward a few centuries and consider the theatres or plays by modern playwrights like Samuel Beckett (Think of ‘Waiting for Godot’, 1953) we find that they seek to figure out the very meaning of existence, or rather comments on its very nature. So, there certainly has been a huge change in the thought process of the generations and this becomes crystal clear in the difference posed between the arts of these two eras.

As to the importance of the theatre in society, at one point it was majorly economical but in the present times, it has more cultural importance. Theatre is not merely a mode of entertainment but it is a vehicle of change, education and self expression in the society. Just as the body needs food to remain healthy, the mind needs artistic persuasions to retain its health. And theatre is a major form of art, a great way to influence the way people think, or see the world.

As a mode of education and social change, theatre presents before us an image of our very selves, and lets us see who we are. It makes it easier to find the faults, to understand the corruptions which evade the culture. Theatres have long been an indispensible mean for every culture to raise or promote a social cause – from condemning capitalism to promoting women rights and very recently, supporting gender-equality/ homosexuality – theatre has always played its own role in shaping the mind of the people.

Theatre also provides as a mode of self expression. It makes possible to express those thoughts, desires or cravings which are not widely accepted in the society and helps to express why it should be. From the history of the society, to human relationships to the complex working of the human mind: theatre allows for exploration and brings to the surface the truth, the undiluted raw truth of existence.

At the same time, Theatre allows for Globalization and helps the human mind to expand and learn about a world beyond his own, to know about people and cultures which exists beyond his own society. It liberalizes the human mind, allows it to grow, and provokes thought and imagination.

It also makes us realize that reality is much bigger than ourselves, and the theatre is its replica – a meta-theatre, and we humans are but mere actors, playing out our roles since “All the world’s a stage”. Therefore, a culture is incomplete without its theatre.

5 Tips to Enjoy Opera for Noobs!

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear of Operas? Do you picture overweight women singing in a foreign language with a shrill voice? Do you think of saxophones? And is that all you can conjure up in your mind when someone talks to you about Opera? Well, in that case you have a lot to learn about operas. Firstly, they are plays where the dialogues are all carried out in the form of songs. Secondly, no, they are not all about fat shrill-voiced ladies! There is a story which might be comic, tragic or romantic, or a combination of either of these.

Now, if you are planning to visit an Opera for the first time, or have already visited one and didn’t quite “enjoy” the experience, here is a few tips that might help you the next time:

Know about the Opera

Do a little research about the Opera before attending. It shouldn’t be very hard to find information on the internet. Learn about its genre, the plot, its setting in advance. Or better yet, rent a DVD and watch the opera before actually going to Watch it live, you can watch them online too. Once you are aware what exactly you will be going in for, you’ll be able to shape your expectations accordingly and actually enjoy the performance a lot more.

Who should you bring along

Bring anyone you wish, no one is so much as going to blink an eye as long as you are properly dressed (yes, dress code is kind of important, opera is by large a place for the snobs, so if you are not one just act like one unless you want to invite innumerous slighting glances). As for the person you drag along, make sure she/he can survive without using the cell-phone every 15minutes for at least 3 hours (it can drag longer, of course) or doesn’t need to use the restroom very often. Try not to bring small children along. The screaming and nagging doesn’t go with the opera environment.

The basic etiquettes

Once the light goes dim, it’s show-time! The show often begins before the curtain is even raised! Yes! You hear people applauding? This means the show has begun and you need to focus. If the opera turns out to be too long or incomprehensible for you, you can try amusing yourself by glaring at others! But hush, don’t you yourself make a noise!

Things to carry

You are not a noob! Or at least you don’t want to seem like one! Carry an Opera glass or a binocular! They are essentials and they’ll help you to observe the ongoing action more clearly.

Enjoy Yourself

Since you will be paying quite an amount for the tickets, at least enjoy the ambiance which truly is great with all the music and lights. And once you start following the story, you will understand what the entire craze is about. If you still find it hard to sit through the show, leave quietly during the intermission.

How to nail the kissing or intimate scenes while you are acting!

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kiss

A career in acting demands a lot from the actor. Movies, plays, theatres or operas – they all mimic real life and so it is obvious that the plot will demand the actor to perform a kissing or an intimate scene at one point of time or another. Scenes like this become instrumental in expressing emotions of passion and lust. However, such scenes often turn out to be out-of-the-comfort-zone of the actors and rightly so. It is not easy to feign passion while fifty odd pairs of eyes are staring at you. Actors get conscious about their performance as well as about their own bodies, and it might take some time before the actors can get used to such intimate scenes. The beginning is the hardest part; things begin to get familiar as one spends more and more time in the industry.

As for the beginners, here are a few steps they can follow to get more comfortable with the onscreen display of affection:

Know your mind

Before signing a contract, it is of utmost importance that the actors know what they are getting themselves into. It is better to particularly enquire and know in detail about the intimate scenes before signing a contract. Once you know the things that you will be required to carry out during your performance, you can decide whether you are ready for it or not. Do not force yourself into anything that your conscience would not permit you to do. Because if in any case you cannot carry on with your decision and back up at the last moment, it will cause trouble for you (because you have already signed a contract) and also for the production house. So know your mind before going ahead with a decision.

Know your partner

Get to know the person with whom you will be sharing the intimate scene. Make sure that the other person is also comfortable in performing such a scene. These interactions will help to ease the tension and create a comfort zone between the two of you. When two actors involved in an intimate scene are in friendly terms, it becomes a lot easier to fake the chemistry as well as to carry on the performance. A mistake in that case is more likely to evoke laughter rather than creating an awkward situation.

Be confident and rehearse in advance

Firstly, be confident and comfortable with your own body. If you are required to expose, you must agree only if you are comfortable in the first place. Secondly, rehearse your act in advance. For kissing scenes you can use a doll or simply practice the lip movements. Follow what the Director advices.

Forget about the staring eyes

Last but not the least; the most important part is to be indifferent to the crowd around. Forget you are being watched, simply focus on your own performance and on your partner, and let everyone else zoom out. This way, you should be able to carry out a kissing/intimate scene pretty convincingly and effortlessly!

Top 10 common superstitions of actors

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Actor folk are no doubt a superstitious lot, and given the contribution of luck in their success, it is not surprising that actors have maintained certain superstitions on stage. Some of these superstitions are irrational and have no concurrent evidences to support their theory, while others are based on proven claims. This article attempts to unravel some of the most common superstitions that prevail among actors, and will also try to explain the corresponding theories behind their existence.

Here we go:

Wearing blue on stage

blue_stage

Actors since times unknown have avoided wearing the colour blue on stage, unless the blue attire was countered with some silver tones. This superstition dates back to early times when blue colour dyes were difficult to make and actors would adorn them to fool their audience and give them the impression of false success and a star status. Wearing of silver along with blue signified an authentic wealthy background of the actor.

The Unlucky Three

candles

Actors have always avoided having three candles alight on stage, during rehearsals or actual execution of plays. They believe it brings bad luck as apparently the person standing closest to the candles will get married early and will also die early. This superstition originates from the early times when electricity was not yet introduced to theatre and it was lit using candles. The latter only increased the risk of fire and might have brought about burn accidents in actors of the past.

No Peacock feathers onstage

peacock-feathers

Peacock feathers are believed by actors to be malevolent and a curse to the sets. This superstition is based on a Greek myth which states that peacock feathers have a monster eyes that can only bring bad luck and chaos. Indeed, whenever peacock feathers have been used as costume elements, or props, sets have collapsed, curtains have caught alight or other disastrous events have ensued.

Gift of Graveyard Flowers

flowers

It is considered a good omen to gift fellow actors, graveyard flowers at the closing ceremony, or after the play or film releases. Graveyard flowers like lilies and pansies are given at the end of the performance and not before, to symbolize complete detachment from the show and moving on with life.

The Mirror curse

The mirror superstition is probably the most universal of all myths and it is staunchly believed by actors that breaking of mirrors bring about seven years of bad luck. This belief is based on the logic that the mirror forms a reflection of the actor and breaking it breaks the reflection too. This weakens the essence of the soul and creates misfortune.

Ghost lights

lights

Empty theatres and film sets are always kept alight in order to ward off malefic spirits and invite positive souls. Although this is a superstition, it has a lot of practical use in that, well-lit stages are lesser prone to accidents and injuries to actors.

Wishing good luck

Actors are always careful about wishing bad luck to each other before the camera starts rolling or the curtains draw up. The believe that wishing someone ‘best of luck’ before the show is a sign of an impending flop show. In many theatre groups, the phrase ‘break a leg’ substitutes for ‘good luck’!

 

The actual list of actor superstitions is quite exhaustive and may differ among actors of varying cultural backgrounds and mentality. Some superstitions have gained worldwide acceptance and actors swear by them, while others are simply good for some light-hearted humor. Whatever it is, actors do every bit to take precautions, believe in these superstitions and never push their luck too far!

Is it possible to be an actor nowadays?

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Common Talent Show

With the advent of technology and the revolutionary internet, the definition of celebrity has completely changed. Social media sites like Instagram and YouTube help aspiring actors to gain enough recognition within a very young age and hurl them into the spotlight. Thus the initial part of the struggle, that was so prevalent among budding actors of yesteryear, is not very much evident in the life of aspiring actors today. It is thus easier and very much possible to be an actor nowadays.

Here are a few ways:

Through social media channels

Despite cut-throat competition and recession, new actors continue to make their way to the film industry on a daily basis. Social networking sites have surely made it easier for youngsters to get noticed and contact appropriate modeling agencies, acting class coordinators, people related to production of films and so on. Nowadays by shooting a single video and uploading it on channels like Vine or YouTube, gets people famous, with a huge number of likes and followers. This trend results not only in the popularity of people on social media but also makes them easier to succeed in the bigger picture.

Through channels of television

Since the past decade, television has increased in transparency and become very much sought after by aspiring actors. The general trend now, is to start out with small talk shows, journalists, and then venture into films. In the early era, television was completely secluded from the film industry and there was no scope for outsiders in its world. But now, with increased accessibility it has become easier for people to enter the arena of films and gain success and fame as an actor.

Through reality shows and talent hunts

Television developed more and more with the onset of interactive talk shows, reality shows and talent hunts. These types of shows have basically bridged the gap between the general public and the much coveted world of celebrities and glamour, thus making it easier for young, talent aspirants to put their baby steps in the television industry and carve out a niche for themselves. The best part about these shows is that the auditions are held at all major cities for selection of common people who are talented, confident and smart. This makes it possible nowadays for people to try their luck as an actor, in spite of having no influential background. This trend was not seen in the olden days, where the world of film industry was reserved only for a privileged few, who had a family history of influential actors or were in close contact with such people.

Through recommendations

Getting access into the film industry and becoming an actor was possible mainly through recommendations in the earlier days, and now also it remains a foolproof route of entry. However even getting recommendations is quite easy these days. When an aspirant enrolls for acting classes, or auditions for talent hunts and makes it till television at least, it is then very easy to get film offers and launch a career in films thereafter.

 

Becoming an actor nowadays is not easy, yet it is certainly possible with the right attitude, talent and a little bit of luck. It is always advised to start with acting classes for improvisation and then slowly moves up the ladder of success.