TM Karthik — Corporate-er with 19 years of IT experience, senior managerial roles with leading organizations such as Cognizant, HCL, Sathyam and now the co-founder of Training Sideways, TMK has been a professional dreamer, passionate actor, both stage and film and a highly experienced business and team skills trainer. He has,in the past, managed a full time corporate role along with acting & training and today, uses these combined skills in delivering specialized workshops, across Corporates as well as for theatre aficionados. He has been a highly respected theatre actor for over 22 years and has worked in many leading films like, Nanban, Deiva Thirumagal(tamil), Guru(Hindi) and Life of Pi(english), the Oscar winning film.
What is your one endearing cricketing memory of the recent World Cup? I’m sure each of you will come up with many, a great catch, a super six, an astonishing piece of fielding, a torrid bowling spell etc. What about the non-cricketing moments? Those for me are more special and priceless! The sight of ABD/Morne in tears, Grant Elliot, in his greatest moment on the field, becoming human and holding out his hand to a fallen adversary Dale Steyn!
What I’m talking about is the human/emotional, real-life theatreo on the field of sports. Which makes me write this article (if it can be called that!) linking two of my greatest passions, cricket and theatre!
There are three types of theatrical performances… T20, One day and Tests.
Let me explain. The most popular form of theatre today is stand-up comedy, which is the equivalent of T20! Look at the form. Short time of performance, but there is an immediate and raucous impact and before you can say “Gayle”, you are done! Wow! Adrenaline pumping, tremendous timing, incredible “strokes” . A dilscoop line here, a helicopter moment there, weird (read as colourful!) clothing, audiences lap it up, they want more and they come in droves! And space is not a constraint. In fact, the smaller the venue, more sixes and fun! And of course, once in while an unsuspecting audience member gives you a “free hit” which may go anyway! And one has to reinvent one’s shots often or you will become predictable and outdated! You have limited time to cause maximum impact. And boundaries? Who cares! You are meant to cross them anyway! And yes, you don’t need to know test cricket to play T20… it’s becoming a world of specialists! Easier to travel, anywhere, anytime! And yes, this is franchise cricket folks, lotsa moolah! You can freelance, belong to any number of franchises, anything goes! Max in all forms :)
The stop gap theatre is the short play format, which is like one day cricket. It’s an audience attention thing, you see! And many people are not sure if this form will survive, and just when it looks outdated, contests and festivals start, and makes this form a very potent weapon! Because of the very nature of the game, there are mini shades of many theatres! A stand up (T20) feels at one point, deep moments of refection at others, a full match, with enough variety for most viewers and players! And good enough for regular world cups and league tournaments! Easier on the senses and the body!
And the last, is the first and original form of theatre, the full length play, Test cricket! Well, critics may say that it’s too long, too many logistics, never a “one day” affair, gets boring many times and without “Power Plays”, the audiences may just end up seeing a listless draw! In the age of instant gratification, this forms truly separates the men from the boys and every sinew of your skill, mind, body and soul gets tested! No free hits, not meant only to entertain, needs a real feel and understanding to appreciate or perform! Chances of repeatability(number of shows!!) low. Hard hours at the “nets”(rehearsals), too many human and other factors to contend/conflict with for a longer time.
The Captain (Director) is king. The players can’t hide their technical flaws unlike the other forms where one can get away at times! Can this type of player survive in One Day (Short plays) and T20(Stand up)?
Of course, since he has his technique firm and he doesn’t need to necessarily play the “”over the top” and “anything to cross the boundary” shots!
And so, having played all three forms, with reasonable success, my choice as a performer/audience? Test cricket, any day! That’s where I feel like a complete artist! And only true talent will shine through,and all other considerations come to naught!
And eventually, the world will remember the greats of Test cricket, right?!?!