A place for performance during the pandemic…

The series of conversations introduced me to various artists, performers, entrepreneurs, etc. Being familiar with the works of various dancers has been a part of my habits, but they were mostly confined to classical dances. Hearing from various artists when it came to various innovations that they have introduced in their performances was an exciting experience. Also, all of these artists who were part of the panel understood the work behind the performance, and the execution of the performance, hence, the conversations were vast.

I think the most intriguing part was that all the sessions involved young practitioners, experienced professionals, along with entrepreneurs. The diversity of opinions was a pleasant intake to understand the theatre. The fact that the present-day scenario of the pandemic was dealt with, and how it affected the panelists in each of their fields.

The foremost fact is that artists have been acknowledged as non-essential services, so how do they survive during the pandemic. Survival becomes more important, especially for newcomers, they face the risk of falling off the community. The discussions were not only confined to theatre but also to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on an individual. Also, I feel the conversations are framed in a way, that an individual not belonging to the artistic background can relate to.

My anticipation developed with each of the sessions. Even if all of these conversations started with common questions, they all led to different viewpoints. In between the closing of physical spaces and the coming up of digital platforms, it developed a void that was difficult to fill for the whole world.

Each session asks new questions when it comes to performance spaces. It wasn’t just looking at performance as an audience, but rather, as a performer, an organizer, a practitioner, a teacher, etc. It wasn’t just confined to how positively one was able to adjust, but what furthered the discussions were the failures as well. The parts where one was able to enjoy, and the parts that required a lot more effort than thought.

When talking about theatre during the pandemic, the foremost topic was the digitalization of art. To be able to discover things through theatre like the importance of voice and focus when it came to the digital era of zoom. The different phases and waves of the Pandemic led to discoveries but also the failure of plans. What I gathered was even to showcase art in the digital era, it is still important to practice, and understand what is being displayed on the screen. Again, what the audience is gathering through the screen becomes an important parameter. This is something I was able to connect with the readings of the book ‘Beyond the Proscenium’.

The screen has taken away the ‘feeling’ of theatre. It is being missed in the present-day digital era. The autonomy has been taken away by online mediums. One cannot choose what part of the performance one wants to see. One needs to look at the screen like you love it.

The most relatable aspect that I felt was that an individual needs to have an adaptable nature, especially in the present day scenario of the Pandemic. This is not confined only to the students, but also the practitioners and teachers. It is not necessary to be an expert on everything about the art and its representation, but there should be an adaptive nature present. The skill being redeveloped on the online medium is what a performer and a teacher should be open to. Performance is no more about a reaction from the audience, it is about a process of creation and improvisation.