For the Love of Theatre!

21768013_1706657312689233_7314606505628390833_nSadhana, a law student and a volunteer at many organisations, likes Korea and Korean people a tad bit more than anybody. Here she is talking about her experiences with evam Live shows.

 

 

 

 

I joined evam as a volunteer in 2015; a timid 18 year old with no experience in theatre or event management. My first assignment was The Hindu Theatre Fest, and I still remember the excitement I felt when I received my green Theatre Fest t-shirt and tag. I was a part of the “In-Venue team”, and Pavi and Thoorika spearheaded all the operations that year. They patiently instructed us on our duties, taught us how to handle “difficult” audiences and prepared us to handle the emergency situations proactively. One of my favourite parts of the drill is “the huddle”. To be honest, at first I despised doing the huddle. The huddle is basically where the entire team forms a circle by linking hands, and the head of operations asks us to think of a happy moment and spread the positive energy around the group. Seems simple enough, right? So why do you think I despised it? …..Simple as it may sound, it is not all that easy to conjure a happy thought. I dreaded the huddle for the entire duration of my first Theatre Fest. But on the last day, we had a pizza party before the huddle, and when Pavi asked us to think of a happy moment, it hit me. The Theatre Fest was my happy thought. The plays I got to watch, the friends I made, the rapport I shared with the rest of the team: these were the things that made me happy.

After the Theatre Fest ended, Thoorika invited me to join Team evam, and I gladly accepted. I later learnt that there are several departments in evam, and I was to be a part of the Live Team which mainly handles EST shows (Stand up comedy shows). Attending stand-up shows is one of the best stress busters ever. My favourite stand-up shows till date are Second Decoction and Alex in Wonderland.

Working with evam has helped me develop my interpersonal skills greatly. I went from being a taciturn person to an outgoing person who can put newcomers at ease. Although I’ve worked in various capacities, my favourite duty is “Tech”. When I handle Tech, I play house music before the show, and get to watch from the best seats in the house. Sitting in front of the audio console makes me feel cool. Heh. Being a K-Pop fan, I often arrive early at the venue just to play K-Pop songs on big speakers. My favourite venue is the Museum Theatre. I watched my first play there. The theatre looks surreal at night, bathed the soft glow of golden lights; it transports you right back to the 19th century when it was built.

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Since the shows are usually held in different venues across Chennai, I got to learn a lot of routes, short cuts, bus numbers, and train schedules. In the beginning, I got lost quite a few times on my way to the venue. Thanks to evam, I can now navigate from Velachery to Egmore with no difficulty. Joining evam is one of the best decisions I ever made. I look forward to attending tons of stand-up shows in the future, and probably learn stage lighting some day. Cheers!

Sadhana

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Bring your Child to Work!

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When we were in schools and colleges, children’s day was just another day – with the exception of chocolates being passed around for everyone. The times have indeed changed. Starting from schools, where the children’s day celebrations happen in an elaborate way, to workplaces and corporate where the HR people go a step beyond and organise an event for the employees to introduce their children to their work environment! But often, there is a question of what can be done for the entire day!

That’s where we step in – evam’s Happy Cow – India’s leading theatre based education house has the perfect solution for this. We have been already working with the children of Mahindra Support staff for the past three years and working with children of that number is an enjoyment in itself. This year we are excited to launch – Children’s Day @ work! An opportunity to bring the child in you and your child, both to your workspace.

“Bring your child to work” would no longer mean packing snacks & lunch for your kids along with their coloring books and story books to keep them engaged when you are shuttling between your work, meetings, call and your kids! We fill their day with performances, workshops & exciting competitions to create a safe and fun experience for them and you! Along with the takeaways that they create by themselves, they would have enough memories and stories to tell everyone about your office.

The day is filled with performances like magic show, puppet show, clown show etc and workshops like puppet/mask making, balloon sculpting etc.

How could you make this happen? Write to your HR/Employee Engagement head with thoorika@evam.in in the CC or share this article with them and ask them to call 9790792115!

NOV 14 CELEBRATIONS (1)

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The Rush!!

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Someone who beats her writer’s block with the mere thought of biriyani, Priyanka Natarajan, here in this blog is talking about her experiences with the last three batches of First Rush – evam’s Beginners Acting Course.

 

 

The one who is afraid of heights, doing bungee jumping; the one who is afraid of water, venturing into the never ending waves in an attempt to overcome the fear; the one who prefers to stick to the daily routine of life, but daring to step out of the shell to try something new. They all experience a rush within them which is more or less the same feeling our First Rushers feel when going on stage in front of an audience after a month long rigorous rehearsal process.

I have been with the last three batches of First Rush and its always a wonder to see how a bunch of people from various aspects in life come together, work and toil for a month to create an evening so memorable for the audience and even more for themselves. An engineer who usually spends 75% of his day on con-calls generally, is seen repeating and rehearsing his lines when stuck in traffic. An entrepreneur who generally closes deals sitting in the confines of his office, is seen going to costume rentals and bargaining costume deals with the shop keeper. All this to put up a show and to end the performance on a high.

For someone like me, who prefers to be backstage doing work, each and every batch of First Rush is a memory indeed. Starting from the two day workshop, where the participants break the ice and get to know each other, to the last day where everyone is having mixed feelings thinking about their performances, thinking about what to do next – everything is so special to witness from a close quarters.

Before each batch, when I go through the participant’s details, I used to wonder how would they gel with each other and come up with a show within a month! How would an engineer, a journalist, a soft-skills trainer, a college student work with the same wavelength or “chemistry” as it is said to be now! But I stand corrected every single time because by the end of the first week, all the First Rushers start working together like a well-oiled machine.

We had our 33rd batch of First Rushers graduating this month and for this batch we had three of our previous First Rushers write the scripts and thus ended up making this Graduation show even more special. It was almost like a collaborative effort of three First Rush batches.

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As it happens every single time , the madness backstage was felt till the show started and the fact that it was a sold out show was another added factor. As promised in the course, it was the participants who took up production, prop sourcing and marketing of the play and they were all happy to see all efforts paying off with a full-house at their first performing night.

This doesn’t stop here. Having a director, who doesn’t stop his work after the show, helps and motivates them in a different way. There are plans to take this to the next level and to start performing regularly! Way to go guys! All the best!

The 34th batch of First Rush is happening in Chennai on November 11th and 12th and here’s the registration link – http://bit.ly/FirstRushNov :) – if you are looking to have this experience sign up!!!

Priyanka Natarajan

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New Specials from evam Standup Tamasha!

Last year at evam Stand-up Tamasha, we had two of our young and up-coming comics, Alex and Baggy come together to do a One-by-Two stand-up comedy special called The Yogi & The Bear. With both the comics doing over 45 mins of content each and adding their own unique skills to make it a truly special show, we were able to produce a great tour of the show with over 25 shows across India. Now both of them have solo stand-up specials of their own, which are both doing incredibly well.
We are doing something very similar this year, with the most promising artists from our repertory and are very excited about them. We’ve clubbed together comics with certain similarities and have put together 3 stand-up specials. The main idea of course being that these artists get to showcase more than 40 mins of individual content, while touring with their first stand-up specials and in doing so build an audience of their own, who probably have so far seen them only through online videos.
evam Stand-up Tamasha will be producing tours of these shows over the next few months across our home markets. All of these artists will be bringing their best content to stage, along with some brand new content as well. Look out for these over the upcoming months in these cities. We hope our audiences will share with us the joy of witnessing the future stars of stand-up comedy.
Touring in the next few months across Chennai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad are:

 

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Engineering – An art form that sculpted me!

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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.

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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.

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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

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Should I send my toddler to “After-school activities”??

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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.

  1. It is perfectly fine to send toddlers to after school activities. But pull them out immediately if you find that they don’t like to go to the class.
  2. Figure out whether they don’t like the trainer or the centre or the art form or the sport itself.
  3. Put them into as many experiences as possible. Let them get a taste of all the art forms and sports. So when they grow up, they will be able to choose whatever they are interested in.

Trust your parenting instincts. But if you ask me, competition and awarding one single prize for a toddler age group is a strict no.

John Pradeep

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Directorial Tale!

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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.

Batch 29
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”

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Batch 32
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”.

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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

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Hari Ramakrishnan

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