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Vivek is an engineer who worked with Polaris after his degree in engineering. Later he realized his memes gave better ouput than his coding. So he joined evam to give us a lot of funny memes and wonderful posters for our shows and workshops.
One year as an “In-house” designer at evam. 1500 design creatives, several pixels and pixels of images and data, good and interesting work atmosphere and I still keep pondering over my college days and why I did engineering… Oops.. How engineering did me!
Being a twelfth standard class topper is not an easy task. Pride, greetings, bouquets, phone calls wishing all day long. Besides, so many life issues, suggestions, career confusions and innumerable amounts of holidays that takes you to a whole level of boredom. Completing 12th standard in a state board medium and passing out with a school first rank is utter chaos.
I was totally confused on what I am going to do after school. A lot of phone calls from friends and relatives made me decide not do what these people advise me to do. Since high school I was interested in media and acting and I’ve always wanted to choose that as my mainstream.
But why would a mother who works as a teacher, allow her son to choose his career at his will? Everyone became an academic consultant when my mom approached them for career advice. Interesting part is even my great-grandmother who only used to drop her kids to school suggested colleges that never existed.
One common goal of my relatives was to make me an engineer like every other cousin in the family. So they ultimately made my parents choose engineering for me. Even though it was an average institution I liked how they chose the college. One of a distant relative of my distant relative was a staff in my college (not a professor but a lab attender). He wanted me to take that college and told my parents he’d take care of me. He became the Godman of my family. Though I hated engineering, I wanted to do mechanical as my mainstream. Sources told “mechanical doesn’t have good career opportunities. Choose Computers or Electronics.” Hence I had to choose electronics.
Four years of engineering filled me with good and bad memories. But I’d say it was totally a different journey (of 60 kms bumpy ride) where I met many new people and learned a lot of life lessons. Finishing my college and choosing arts as career was one of the biggest turning point which transformed me as a guy who could decide what he wanted in life.
I boldly took a move to quit my corporate career and chose arts as a medium to get the meaning of life. I’ll wholeheartedly say arts taught me things that engineering failed to. It taught me the meaning of my existence. It was arts that gave me a different perspective of life. Be it dance, music or cooking, every art form changed me and my perspective about life.
I wouldn’t say it was a cake-walk decision. There were embarrassments, humiliations & hatred thrown at me. Arts prepared me to receive everything as bouquets.
BTW, I wasn’t a school topper.
Vivek Krishnan (AKA) Venkatanathan
John Pradeep, the Dean of Happy Cow, apart from conducting theatre workshops, does biking, balloon-crafting, clowning etc. Basically he manages to stay out of home! When at home, he gets life lessons from his daughter also!
My daughter (3.5 years old) likes running, jumping, diving and climbing on things at home. Me, being the proud parent wanted to find her strengths. I had a brief talk with a kid’s gym centre coordinator and I told him that I would bring her to one class to see if she is interested. She was watching for some five minutes, then the trainer called and asked her if she can do a cartwheel to which she didn’t even reply, but did 5 cartwheels back to back. The trainer was mighty impressed, gave special attention to her. She was excited to go to the class every day. After an hour of workout, she would be very tired, but in-spite of that would ask if she can stay back and do a little more. I was excited that I have found what her talent is and was looking forward to seeing her being a gymnast on big stages.
Things were going well until the district level competition was announced and the trainer put special efforts to get her to win. She did everything he asked her to do except the back flip. She would try to do it every day, but would do only if the trainer gives a hand. Two weeks away from the competition, the trainer took a stick, stood in front of her and asked her to do a back flip. She did it the next minute. I jumped up in joy but she started crying. The next class, she started grumbling while we were getting ready for gym, started crying while going in the bike and was on the peak of her crying as we neared the Gym. All these while, I have been talking to her about how awesome she is, how we are prepping up for the competition and why she going to the class was important, but in vain. I have done pushing her beyond limits at some instances before and succeeded. The parenting instincts in me told that this was a sure no. I stopped my bike on the road and asked her if she surely didn’t want to go. And she gave me a sure no. I just stood there on the road for 2 minutes just to allow all my “Father of a Gymnast” dreams to shatter, fall down, break into pieces and washed away in tears (Yes I cried). That was my first experience of disappointment as a father. We returned home and she was as usual doing all the activities at home on the bed. I as of now know she just hates going to that Gym, but loves doing Gymnastics. I found another Gym, spoke to the trainer about the past experience and he completely understood. But when I asked her about going to a new Gym, she asked me “What if I again do mistakes?” I just left it there and hoping one day she will ask me to put her in some Gym when she understands how a competition works. She still does all those activities at home.
Things I understood from this experience.
Trust your parenting instincts. But if you ask me, competition and awarding one single prize for a toddler age group is a strict no.
Hari Ramakrishnan, a strict-officer while directing and rehearsals, but the most easily approachable person in the theatre fraternity, has been a part of evam’s First Rush for the last three graduation batches. He is talking about how his experience was with First Rush :)
There are so many things that you may want to try out in your life and one such thing is acting for so many and it is at this point you try to figure out a “go-to” place to fulfil your long pending dream and one such place is FIRST RUSH, an amazing Initiative founded by EVAM.
Many artists who are a part of theatre productions today owe it to the company which has thrived in bringing up creative content, innovative productions and talented actors and setting up standards in the field of art and theatre and trying to break its own records continuously.
I have directed three batches so far and it is one tremendous give and take learning process each day when we meet for rehearsals. As a Director I underwent the experience of understanding the saying “Not all fingers on your hand are the same”. Getting the required output from a particular artist demanded me to adapt new methods as they were different from each other which further gave me an opportunity to explore and expand my abilities.
But what is really beautiful is that, no matter what differences the artists have they slowly start to forge a bond which projects them as a single functioning unit at the end of the 30 day workshop which is one of the best things a director can receive from his team apart from a standing ovation from the audience for the performance.
The first thing I always tell any batch is, “The audience do not pay to watch a amateur performance.” Hence one of the major goals is moulding the artists to a standard of a professional actor or give them the necessary tools to become one over a period of time.
My first batch is always like my first child. They named themselves “ACT-A- AWAYS” and they came up with a performance called “6 Course Meals”. Most of them were still in college , a pretty bunch with a lot of enthusiasm jumping around like crazy balls, making fun, at the same time putting their effort in a playful way contributing to the better output of the play as how we planned it . Putting it in line “You want energy?? We have tons of it”
This gets serious. This batch consisted of mostly working professionals, business men and had a matured way of handling things from the way the moment it started. Once they opened up, I understood that they were not more than 16 years old at heart and mind ;) They chose the name “Starting from Scratch” and their performance was called “5 Finger Fries”. Foodies I say! When it came to the execution of instructions they were on the top of their game. It was more like “work while work and play while play” but both at the extreme ends. There were times we were chased out of restaurants for being the notorious guests… in simple words “KIDS IN ADULT’S CLOTHES”.
Batch 33 (Current Batch)
Teasing each other is in their daily agenda and they aptly call themselves “The Stage Roaches” and their performance which is coming up on October 7th is named as “5 Shades of Something”. It’s about 2 weeks I have been with them and from what I have seen they come up with small surprises every now and then when it comes to displaying their acting skills. They have their own unique skill set on stage and they know how to use it at the right time and right quantity with measured quality. Looking forward for more surprises from them :) Catch them performing next month on the 7th :) For tickets : https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/five-shades-of-something/ET00061653
An IT employee by profession, Sanjana Annu was a part of The Hindu Theatre Festival 2017 Live evam team. In this blog she is talking about her experience at the three day festival.
Who said surprises come in small packages only. For me, it was a big fat event starting from 24th Aug to 26th August. Little did I know, how much was in store for me during those three days of my life when I first decided to be a part of this. It is rightly said that “From a tiny spark may burst a mighty flame”.
It all started when a friend of mine asked if I was interested to be a part of this. My response was quite impulsive. I did not even give a second thought about it considering all the stuff he had been telling about this fest as he was part of this from a very long time. I was more than excited. But as they said don’t settle for the spark but wait for the wild fire, I decided to keep calm because, it’s going to be LEGEND wait for it DARY!
There was no looking back after that. We had been called a day before the event starts to break the ice and get some insights about how the whole event is going to be. That evening was the perfect trailer for the entire event. Diversity was bolded and also italicized because each one present there had a creative uniqueness in them (which I rarely get to see) and you know what was the one common thing in all of them? Yes, the DURACELL battery wala energy. The moment you look at a person, you feel the same energy within you. Oh! Wait! Isnt this exactly what my Physics Professor explained ? Energy is always around you, it just transforms into different forms. On a second thought, I now started liking physics. My professor would be happy hearing it from me.
On the first day, we were called quite early to the venue as there were lot of work that had to be done and do our best that we can and finish everything on time. As soon as I reached the venue, I went around the entire building, entering into different doors, finding new pathways, peeping through all the windows just as I usually do at a new place to satisfy my curiosity. It makes me more connected to the place. As I entered the back stage, I was gaping at all the works that was done on the stage, probably it was the first time I was doing back stage work for a big act after my school days. Right from cleaning the stage, fixing the back drop, arranging the props, setting the mikes, getting the green room works done and many more of this. Trust me, one cannot differentiate who was actually leading the event and who were the volunteers, because each and everyone was working with total commitment.
And the best part, nobody would have been more happier than my mom when she got to know that I had lifted the water cans, moved out some heavy wood stuff and surprisingly did some stitching too for the props. All thanks to the event, now my mom wants me to attend such events regularly and do these activities at home too so that I would get over my laziness.
And now when all the work got completed, we all gathered and had a briefing by our Event Head about the roles and responsibilities during the show time. After the briefing, we had an evam huddle, where each one of us would hold each others hands, close our eyes and think about the best memories in our lives which would give us the positive energy to do our best. For me, it is synonymous to RED BULL. Yes,this doesn’t give you wings, but gives you the energy that can make you fly too.
After the huddle, we had a shout out to EVAM followed by a group picture and then we were all back to our positions waiting for the people to arrive. Those 2 hours of showtime was a different experience. I got to meet a lot of people, some haughty women as well (which is an experience of its own) and also helping them out with their seats, giving them a brief about the play and also getting an opportunity to talk about the work we were doing and strangely I was also appreciated for the smile I had during the entire show. I was happy because at least somebody did not consider me a mad man (which happens always) for smiling all the time.
There were many such wow moments during the entire event which would be very close to my heart. An old lady gave me more insights about theatre and also blessed me just for getting her a chair to sit. The old watchman told many strange stories about the venue and also smiled at me every time I crossed him. I guess even my manager at work wouldn’t have been so happy to see me everyday. Last but not the least the Mallu power. Not one or two but we had five Mallus (malayalis) which was an added reason for my excitement.
I cannot end this without describing the Plays that we saw. “Black with equal” was like a complete buffet meal, it had it all. “Barf” was one of its kind with an emotional touch. This was something to which I got more connected to, especially for the message that it gave on belief over powering the truth. “Khwaab sa” gave me a trance feeling with their mind numbing performance. I was awestruck with the perfection aimed and the precision with which each and every act was carried out in all the plays. Probably my words wouldn’t do justice to the feeling that it gave.
On the whole, I can say it was nothing short of a roller coaster ride in the land of dreams. It wouldn’t have been possible without each and every person in the team. Starting from Nihar to introducing me to this, Aditya for making me a part of this and Vasanth, Thoorika and Pavithra for being the best energy filled leads and the entire team for giving me such a memorable experience.
You all are an extended family now!
Now I know why they call it a Fest or rather a Festival, something which we look forward to every year, to meet, have fun and create a lot more memories. Looking forward for more such meets and definitely the 2018 fest!
Signing off, all I can say is embrace the unknown and you will see life surprising you everyday!
Software Engineer by profession & Co founder of Playtonik Productions from Bengaluru, Deeban has been heading the Production Portfolio for The Hindu Theatre Festival for past 2 years now! Whenever he is not haggling with vendors for reducing transportation costs for the sets transfer, Deeban annoys his team with his vast knowledge of Bollywood songs and equally cheesy dialogues!
The Hindu Theatre Festival comes around once every year in August. And it has been a sensory treat for me to be so close to doing something that I am passionate about for a few of weeks in a year. The rush, the crowd, the mistakes, the anticipation, the thrill of energies that are exchanged by performers and the crew and the exhaustion that is a part of every festival is something that has made me grow and learn so much. Over the last few years working on the festival has given me the opportunity to witness some of the best plays touring the country, unfold on stage, and participate in their entire setup process.
This year was slightly different from all the other times I have handled Production for the festival. I was asked to coordinate and head all the production activities in multiple cities (Bangalore & Hyderabad). It was challenging on a different level. But something that my insides did not want to back down from.
What does this even mean?
It means that I am on multiple calls (literally, hundreds 😊) with the troupe’s production managers, and people who were in charge of the production activities in different cities and making sure that everything was sticking to the schedule.
Tasks primarily include:
We had three plays this year for Bangalore and Hyderabad:
This was the most exhaustive and the most interesting round of THTF production for me and possibly for others as well. In the previous editions I had seen that the theatre companies would have chosen to travel with their sets or be very minimalistic in their format, but this time my team’s involvement started 2-3 weeks before the actual show day as the collective production requirements of the groups were very elaborate and we wanted to get everything arranged and ready for seamless show days. Also, this was the first time for me when all the plays did overnight setup.
Barff a thriller set in the picturesque Kashmir, was the play with the most elaborate setup. They had huge sets, snow machines, smoke and haze machines and I was initially nervous as the sets got constructed locally in Bangalore and there were too many elements, but it was a relief as everything just worked out as per the director’s and the team’s requirements. And what a fabulous set it turned out to be, which worked in complimenting a power packed performance by the actors.
And it, of course, not surprisingly, got the standing ovation from the audience.
Barff sets in the making and after
Khwaab Sa from The Company Theatre, was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and was performed as a Contemporary Dance and Musical comedy. Though very minimal on set design and set items on stage, (like with an infinity white cyclorama and a drum set right at upstage centre), but with the last minute requirements and some reworks due to wrong specs, my team and me were nimble footed and on our toes till the last minute before the actors went on stage.
The final play was Black with Equal by Masque a satirical black comedy, was a laughter riot. From production requirements perspective they just needed some furniture which was arranged. But every play comes with its own sets of surprises. They had a very interesting cyclorama (transparent plastic fiber 4ft x 4ft panels spanning across the whole stage) and it took us the maximum amount of time due to some setbacks in installation. But it was fun collaborating with the Black with Equal team in putting these panels together and getting the cyclorama up and leveled *Sigh of relief* at 6:00 am in the morning.
The next day or rather the same day Black with Equal included rehearsals for backstage team due to sharp set changes between scenes and intermission including moving a dead body off stage :-)
With all this action and laughs Black with Equal surely ended the festival with a high for the audience and for us.
Fervent gratitude is required at this stage as none of this would have been accomplished without my fantabulous Production team in both the cities, teaming up, staying as late as 6:00 am in the morning for setup to reaching the venue early in the mornings and taking care of the production requirements during the day till showtime to packup of the sets which have to be done in the night after the show was over and the audience have left. Whew. That was a long list in itself. A huge thank you to evam for asking me to be a part of this amazing experience.
I guess all of us took the message that goes out during evam’s briefing huddle – “We should treat the Hindu Theatre festival as a wedding in the family and the performers as our guests,” to our hearts and no matter what… Atithi Devo Bhava. 😊
Aditya GV started working with our Live team from the year 2011 and this is his 7th year with The Hindu Theatre Festival 2017. He was the Hyderabad City Head for the festival this year. Here he is in this blog talking about his experience with the festival.
We have many platforms to showcase our talent – it may be dance, music or singing but on the other hand very less platforms when it comes to Acting or Theatre work! There are no proper subject oriented or skill developing theatre companies around who are working on the motive to present and make a person better at acting. Because everyone is looking at it as a money-making model. Yes! And it’s only because of the perception that our people have. Everyone considers acting as one form that happens only on big screen but not on the stage where people like SRK and Nawaz came from. The only place where they want to be is inside the shoes of the Hero who kicks some ass, romances and drag races but not into the effort of production house. Nobody really understands it.
It all started 6 years ago when I was done with my Graduation and getting my prep done for CAT. That was the time when my immense interest in plays, acting and art form got a sudden spark due to the ample time I had in my hand. There were 2 things that I was always into big time because of my interest:
Flipping through the Metro plus addition of The Hindu, I found a tiny piece of advertisement where they were looking for a few volunteers to work on their Theatre Festival that is happening across 5 major cities. Until then, I didn’t have a slight idea of how big this festival is and didn’t know that actually people attend this on a great scale. The super excited self in me didn’t even wait for a minute after reading it. Quickly firing up my laptop I emailed the team about my interest and other details that they found interesting and looped me in to be a part of the 2011 Metro Plus Theatre Festival team.
From being a volunteer in the Hospitality portfolio to becoming the City Head in Hyderabad for the The Hindu Theatre Festival 2017 (yeah, it became bigger) my journey was fantabulous. I did every kind of work right from Production, Hospitality, Ticketing and In-venue which gave me a thorough knowledge of how the festival runs and also many learnings which gave me an entry to a domain called Arts Management which not really everyone has a chance to explore so often. Great people,fabulous team, the Hhngouts which you get to do with the artists and of course the plays and the experience always become better every year. It’s a very short time but it gives you the boost and zeal to look/do something better going forward.
The 13th edition of the festival was done like 3 days back and it was a bomb. This year was tough and I took up the challenge equally along with my team. We had some huge production sets that were a visual treat to the audience and at the end when everyone gives you a standing ovation, talks about how well the play turned out to be… the kind of boost you get cannot be matched to anything. I got to work with and meet prominent theatre groups again and my favourite play was Barff which was directed by Saurabh Shukla. Every year, every fest is a new challenge and experience. I come back with so many learnings and experiences which won’t be taught anywhere else. Looking forward to 2018.