Layers of Life -Review Of an Acting Workshop

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Acting Workshop review By Sucheta Asrani

Some incidents happen in our lives suddenly. Surprises and Shocks!!!! And my life is full of them. Daily either I get them or I give them. This story is from the year 2010 . I started working in an animation company in Mumbai, on an ‘Animation Training  course development’ Project. I was a fresher and enjoying every bit of it.  

As a part of the course development project our team were required to participate in many training programs and activities. One day, i came to know that, I and my two colleagues Subodh and Siddiue, were selected to participate in an Acting workshop conducted by Mr. NEERAJ KABI.

Disclaimer: For every reader, I would like to make it very clear upfront that this article does not disclose any of the exercises  or any details included in the program. Here I am sharing my personal experience about how I felt.

Before my selection, for two months  I have been convincing myself that this workshop is not for me. As I wanted to do but couldn’t afford it.  I didn’t even explore its details and I somehow convinced myself. I also found out many reasons not to do it. I’m good at deceiving myself. It was like “grapes r sour” ..
And then one fine day, suddenly I got a chance and I started.


The Journey: I was asked to leave early from the office, go home, change the clothes, and then go. But I decided to go with Sub and Sid. (they came prepared and were directly going at the centre.).  These two mad guys made my journey interesting.
It was clear from the given instructions that there will be physical exercises. Almost all acting workshops, being performing arts have many interesting motor skills exercises.   Since, for the last two weeks I haven’t taken  rest properly, I was very tired and sleepy, yet excited to go.

We started. All the way Sub was busy in finding ways for us and Sid was attracting the crowd, by sketching gestures, with paper and pencil in his hands. For the first time I was pleased to be the center of attraction on station. Otherwise being a female I hate if anybody stares at me ;( can’t a girl walk even two steps without being watched!!!!) , also I feel awkward when nobody looks at me. (Something is wrong!!! Am I not dressed properly or what!!!) .

Three trains and one auto. We took 4 vehicles to reach there. We reached before time. Sir came and asked all of us to walk. I found it funny as usually any program starts with an opening speech or introductions. Well, we followed and suddenly I realized that the workshop had already started. Walking was a part of it and was just to understand the pattern of how the workshop will be conducted. As it moved further, I started feeling fresh. The off beat pattern of the program and the way he held it was amazing. The grace of the person was just enough to hold the participants for a long -long time. we didn’t even realize  how the time passed so quickly.
Two things I understood on this day:
1) The knowledge of acting that I have persuaded since childhood during my involvement in the theatre group is precious.
2) Being expressive and child like is not an offense. Instead  these are considered to be the strength for aspiring artists. Then the artform can be anything, whether acting or singing or animations.

It was surprising to know that whatever I have learned for performing in acting, (at Indore) is totally scientific. And the activities involved in the process were actually techniques /methods of acting. We were  using the same techniques but did not know the reason behind them. 

Here in the workshop,  it was supposed to get full definition, scientific reason and method of performing an act. Which is just wonderful? Also I felt gratitude for my Gurus of theatre who blessed me with such a precious knowledge, and provided the platform which has built my base so strong.

Some exercises were emotionally draining. Those were tough to participate honestly. Of Course one could cheat and move ahead, But that’s just not me. I believe that for learning  throully, one should participate with the whole heart and full honesty.  One of the exercises I could not do, as it was about recalling the worst moments of life which I didn’t dare even to attempt.

The Day was over. And I was excited to look forward to it for the next nine days. I had regrets for not participating properly. I decided to give my 200 % the next day and came out of the studio. We three shared the experiences and revised the whole lectures. Next day I called my Guru (In Indore), shared the experience with him and expressed my gratitude. He blessed me.

For the next sessions Sid made us concentrate properly on lectures and avoid unnecessary talks. Otherwise I and Subodh do not have pause buttons in our systems. He maintained the punctuality, concentration, unity, n fun very well. It was surprising to see the hidden strengths of “The Siddique “. He was a perfect senior through out. Sub maintained his long talks.

 While this workshop is designed specially for actors, however we found there all participants were from different professions and different walks of life.  As Acting activity  involves , study of human behavior and psychology. This program gives every individual to understand and look into their own lifes. If you get a chance, I would recommend to participate, as it takes you to dig into layers of your life.  

Sucheta Asrani

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