Monthly Archives: April 2013

Theater and Theatre

Theatre vs Theater

 Theatre is the way the French and the British spell the word.

Theater is the way the Germans spell the word.

Americans use both.


What is Theatre? What is Drama?

We use two words, companion words regularly to mean performance,a performance space, a play,action but what do they really mean? T

This next section is from the book Theatre – brief version by Robert Cohen

What is theatre?

The word comes from the Greek –Theatron, or “seeing place.” It is “a place where something is seen”

Rangashankara auditorium

Rangashankara auditorium

What is Drama?

Drama comes from the Greek dran, “to do” It is “something done.”

M D Pallavi and cast member in The Boy With the Suitcase

M D Pallavi and cast member in The Boy With the Suitcase

Theatre : Something is seen, something is done.


What is a Green Room?

Many times we sit in a green room and wonder what really gave it it’s name. I personally did not know this myself. Was reading Brewer’s Theatre Phrase dictionary today and came across this piece of information.

Green Room: A backstage room in a theatre set aside for use by the cast and stage crew. The term was introduced in the late 17th century. Large theatres had several such rooms for relaxation, conversation and the reception of visitors before and after a performance. Such areas were traditionally painted green, thought it is also possible that the phrase was a corruption of the name ‘scene’ (scenery)

Ranga Shankara's green room - image from the Internet

Ranga Shankara’s green room – image from the Internet

In our own practice of theatre, actors and make up artists, costume people meet in the “green room” before and during the play to get ready and get their make up done. Green room is a term that has become associated with all the back stage activity such as the group huddle before the play and a meeting place for the players and the crew.

Bangalore Theatre Trivia: The great make up artist from Bangalore, a pioneer in many areas of theatre in Bangalore, B N Nani spend a lot of his time in the theatre with artists and directors on and back stage. His house is called Green Room. #Bangaloretheatretrivia

empty canvas of a new year!

two things,
two things to look forward to
two things to look forward to this year

plays, stage,
ranga bhumi,
the possibilities,
the fertile possibilities
oh the thrill
of the empty canvas.

Back in the role of the full time theatre teacher from this May,2013.
So wonderful to be in this juicy spot of possibilities and empty canvases.
What can I create,
What can we do together?
So many ideas.

All beginnings are so fertile!!
the possibilities!
the limitlessness of it all.

i can breathe!

The Artist is Present – Marina Abramović

Saw this recently. Artist Marian Abramovic has a unique performance – The Artist is Present. This has also been made into a documentary. There are two chairs and a table in between. This is the setting and the artist (Marina) is seated on one chair. Audience members come and occupt the empty chair, and once the artist gets a sense that someone is sitting down, she spends a minute with them. In silence, gazing at them. Marina never leaves the chair. She has her hands on her lap. Once the audience leaves, she gazes down towards her hand and then only lifts her gaze, and sometimes opens her closed eyes when she feels the new stranger is in front of her. Each time it is deemed a new performance. This present show happened in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).


As I was looking at her videos, I came across a moment – when things changed. My teacher -Vijay Padaki always calls it the truth of the moment. When there is an influence of something that can shatter, or change the way we are on stage. When you have to be truthful to your performance in the moment, even if things change. I had a glimpse of a beautiful moment like that in another video for the same performance. On another day, Marina began in the same set up – with a chair opposite to her waiting to be occupied, her gaze downward. Unknown to her, a stranger walked by and sat down. This was Ulay, a partner she had parted ways with in the 70s. This was when she had seen him last.  one of the “strangers” she met was an old frind of hers Ulay, another performer. The last she had seen of him was when they parted ways in the 70s.

They had felt that their relationship had run its course and so, they ended it by walking towards each other from the two different ends of the Great Wall of China and briefly meeting when they did on the wall and passing each other by.

Ulay comes and sits in front of her. The moment is played in front of the audience.



Here is the video of that performance