A full-house theatre show at an auditorium seems utopian right now. And, even though virtual shows are being held, it feels like one is watching a movie, not a play.
On the other hand, many artistes and crew are scrambling for work. It is with this thought in mind that city-based couple Archana Kelkar Deshmukh and Bhupendra Deshmukh pooled in resources to start an initiative called Optimus Virtual Theatre – Live, under the company Dream Castle Entertainment.
As opposed to pre-recorded performances, audiences at home get to watch actors playing their parts live from an auditorium with HD quality video and sound. Their first production, Shiv Subrahmanyam’s Snapshots from an Album, was staged at an auditorium at Nandadeep School, Goregaon, last month. Archana tells us that all government guidelines were adhered to with only a limited number of actors and technicians allowed into the auditorium. “We are both disciples of Satyadev Dubey and felt that we had to do something for artistes who had no options. Giving money isn’t everything. At this time, people also want something to do other than sitting at home,” she says.
Having premiered a reading on Gandhi yesterday, Archana shares that they intend to come up with more productions — Hindi, English, Marathi and Gujarati — but will give most importance to the script. “We are even trying to connect with the younger generation who are conceptualising experimental plays, as well as a global audience. Theatre is our cultural identity and people abroad want to know what the younger theatre fraternity here is up to. For our first show, we had people from Switzerland tuning in, who also mentioned that there were no interruptions with transmission.” As for future funding? They haven’t decided on sponsors yet, but the artiste asserts that the team won’t let sponsorship influence their work.
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