Here we share experiences, discoveries, research and tidbits of our journey in staging Naatak's 36th production - "8 Ghante", a hilarious play by Sujit Saraf.
Naatak is a San Francisco Bay Area-based theater group dedicated to producing creative and thought-provoking plays. For more information, visit www.naatak.com
Make-up is never easy, especially when working on time-constraints. Adding costume change to that make is even more of a time crunch.
How to make a person look young? old? older? even older?
How to accessorize him/her for that look?
What costumes would a person of that age group wear?
These are some of the challenges and questions posed when we were brainstorming during the make-up and costumes sessions. We watched some Hindi movies to get idea (boy, the (g)olden classics certainly helped a lot).
We received excellent advice from our resident make-up expert and also received training from a professional make-up artist. Most of us are aware of Base, Foundation, etc., but I learnt a few more tricks for crows feet, philtrum, nasal lines, temple shades, ear lobes, adams apple etc.
For 8 hours, rather than "loitering around and wasting time in the Connaught Place circles" as Pandey* says, we are thinking production and constructing sets that are worth the effort and look elegant.
Our activity starts at our new base "Naatak House". We go through the task list for the day, gather tools and raw materials and commence our operations. After a few trials, we have some prototypes ready. Based on the prototypes, we are now mechanized robots manufacturing the full set pieces. Although we miss the chai, beer & margaritas that we have been pampered with in the last productions; we like the new build venue - over time certain conveniences will follow.
This is one of the less demanding productions that I've worked on. It is a brain-teaser in recollecting and refreshing topics that we've learnt in the past - from "angle-bisectors" to "+/-/ground wiring". Checkout our blog on "how to cut wooden circles". Always a learning experience :)
PS: Interesting? Curious? Join our backstage tour on the days of the show.
Harish Sunderam Agastya has been with Naatak since its founding in 1995. Over the last 15 years since its inception, Harish has worn multiple hats with Naatak as actor, director, producer and lighting designer. He directed Naatak's first foray into English plays in 2003 with Where There's A Will, a comedy by Mahesh Dattani. In 2007, he adapted, directed and played the lead in Anthony Shaffer's legendary thriller Sleuth. In 2008, he directed Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions, a critically acclaimed play on Hindu-Muslim riots. Bay Area audiences have recently seen Harish on stage in several memorable roles such as Tughlaq (Tughlaq - Jun 2010), Patol Babu (Patol Babu Filmstar - Oct 2009), and Kashi Naresh (Madhavi - Feb 2009). Harish is also on Naatak's board and serves as its director of operations.
Siva Kollipara, a theater and dance enthusiast, has been with Naatak since its 29th production "Madhavi" in 2007. He has been actively involved in other Naatak productions (Tughlaq, K.K., Patol Babu Filmstar etc) and with other Bay Area productions. He has worked with various groups and has taken different roles as a backstage crew member, set builder, lights tech, sounds tech and sets manager. "8 Ghante" is his debut as a producer.
Sujit Saraf's plays have been staged all over the US and India, at the National School of Drama in Delhi, Nandikar's festival in Kolkata, and the Bhartendu Natya Utsav featuring "the best plays staged in Delhi in 2007". His novel The Confession of Sultana Daku was published recently by Penguin. For more information, visit www.sujitsaraf.com
Harish Sunderam Agastya (also Director - see above)
Abhishek Das has actively pursued his passion for theater ever since his days in college. He has directed and performed in several Bay Area productions, the most recent ones being 'Madhavi' and 'Bhopal'. Abhishek occasionally dabbles in film-making, and in his free time - works on making search engines (Google) better.