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Shernaz Patel on the changing landscape of theatre from stage to screen

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Actor Shernaz Patel speaks about supervising the transition of theatre to profit a web-based viewers at Aadyam, and what this shift means to the artform’s future

Shernaz Patel holds on to the reminiscence of the final time she set foot on stage, in early March this 12 months in Australia, to carry out The Siddhus of Upper Juhu. The world had but to get up to the brutality of COVID-19 at that time, and now greater than six months after theatres shut down due to lockdown, she reminisces: “I miss the smell of theatre.”

The veteran actor who made her theatre debut with The Diary of Anne Frank in 1984, is now set to curate the first ever digital version of Aadyam, the theatre wing of Aditya Birla group. As the group’s creative director, Shernaz is helming the efforts to deliver stage to screen by presenting three rehearsed and recorded performs in November for a worldwide viewers.

“It’s the first time Aadyam is going digital,” says Shernaz, including, “We are not doing any new plays. We have chosen three plays that have already been performed under Aadyam to be shot and put online.”

Under regular circumstances, she would have been sifting by means of proposals to shortlist performs for efficiency. This 12 months, though a shortlist was ready, the performs couldn’t be realised. Shernaz insists that in contrast to performing by way of Zoom, Aadyam’s focus stays on rehearsing and taking pictures the performs on stage earlier than streaming for audiences on-line. “We wanted to shoot the plays in a professional manner. We will be going into St Andrews auditorium shooting with a multi-camera setup. Rehearsals within the commissioned theatre groups have begun,” she explains, including that it will be important to “find plays that work for this medium”.

Camera pleasant

From the entire gamut, three performs that includes a mixture of languages, genres and types that work nicely for digicam, have been chosen — Bandish 20-20,000 Hz (Hindi), I Don’t Like It, As You Like It (English) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (English). “Sometimes, there are plays that leave a lot to the imagination where the audience is working as hard as the actors to build the story. Then, there are others with very complicated setups which would require a lot of technology. There are many such plays that really just need to be enjoyed in an auditorium. Taking them online would be an injustice,” she says, explaining the rationale behind selecting performs that work for the digicam.

For performers, this inevitable shift from stage to screen is extraordinarily tough, Shernaz provides. “We (performers) are used to feeding off each other. So that’s gone. Now, you are literally looking at that red light on the camera and pretending as if you are talking to the other person. It is really hard to adjust to that. But, what choice do we have?,” she says. Having stated that, she provides that for many who are experimenting with kind and attempting new issues, having an area to categorical themselves creatively, is necessary.

On that observe, the actor can also be of the opinion that digital theatre is right here to keep. “What I would like to see are auditoriums with multi-camera setups, where I can pay and shoot a play for the day. It then becomes content that can be shared with countries or people that you might not be able to access otherwise. A lot of theatres internationally are already doing this. I am hoping it comes here. If the infrastructure is in place, we would definitely able to pull it off,” she provides.



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