14 June, 2021

Curtain Call And Encore

Digital streaming of plays is not a patch on theatre’s end­uring mystique. Yet it has brought new audiences and helped beleaguered thespians survive, change and dare to hope.

I Don’t Like It As You Like It—the Rajat Kapoor-directed play goes digital
Curtain Call And Encore

Of all sophisticated mass entertainment, it’s the oldest: the breathless hush of a blackout to the final fall of the curtain; the play of the plot, be it a full course from hubris to catharsis or a Becketian wait for meaning, the theatre has charmed, enthralled and held humans captive. For theatre artistes, nothing imparts a godlike control over destiny than impersonating a character before a silent audience—a source of energy that communicates itself to the players only in a proscenium, an electric flow of giving and receiving that’s unique to the medium. Yet this most vital of performances was shut down, globally, in March 2020 due to a microscopic ogre that is dominating our lives since.

Though thespians in repertory companies and theatres endured a terrible year, the months weren’t completely wasted. Practitioners learnt new skills and connected with artistes worldwide through online readings, workshops and acts.

But shock and disappointment had the first call. For theatre producer Sonali Kulkarni, the pandemic forced her to cancel an...

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