Whether it be the readings of ‘Beyond the Proscenium’ or the video lectures and conversations on ‘A Place of Performance’, all of them provide a wider perspective to imagine a performance space. Unlike the research for performance unique to the community and my earliest memories of performance, this study wasn’t confined to just a single typology of performance.
Theatre has had a fixed image of being performed in an auditorium in my head. Having gone through the readings from ‘Beyond the Proscenium’, I have been able to gather a lot of new ideas and innovations that have been or can be introduced while designing a performance space. Being able to read the opinions and experiences of performers themselves widened the perspective of understanding the relationship between the performers and the audience.
The idea of a theatre design has been brought to light. Besides this, the historical context of theatre during epidemics like the Spanish flu, and the Plague, have also been discussed. When comparing it to the present-day scenario of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it is skill redevelopment that has become more important.
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’.
Whether it is reading through ‘Beyond the Proscenium’, listening to video lectures by Rustom Bharucha, or even the conversations at the vessel, they all were dealing with the common topic of a performance space, yet the idea behind each of this reading and conversation is unique. All three of these deal with performance spaces exploring different contexts altogether, incorporating perspectives as a performer, as an organizer, as a person who manages backstage, or as a person who is responsible for directing a performance. Not only this, but they also incorporate the present-day scenario of how the performers are actually continuing their profession during the pandemic.
Being familiar with these revelations has been insightful in all aspects. I feel various aspects of these were new to me. Light has been put on the life of practitioners in the historical context as well as the present-day scenario. This is the most relatable idea to me. I think surviving is all that we have been doing since the day the Pandemic was declared and everyone was quarantined. But does the meaning of survival stand the same for everyone is a bigger question. Can one survive because one has a particular skill and job? I feel the
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.