English Drama in Pune

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A blog about drama /  theatre and my experiences in the same.

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Foreword to my latest book

Posted by deepakmorris on January 2, 2016 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

A publisher in the USA has published my book on Amazon - print and Kindle versions.


Cyril Desbruslais, sj, kindly agreed to write a foreword to the book. It's so beautiful, I must share it, even if you don't buy the book:


Foreward – by Cyril Desbruslais, sj


In the beginning was the word. And the word was filled with power. And he who knew how to make and use words had access to power.


Words are currency, like Pounds, Euros, Dollars . . . and Rupees. And he who has a bigger vocabulary is, in a very real sense, richer than one who has a smaller one, just as he who has more money is wealthier than he who has little. Words may not necessarily get you many things, but - if you know how to use them well - can get you lots of power, power over the minds and hearts of people whom you can persuade to help you realise your projects.


Deepak Morris is one of those persons; who knows his words, possesses a rich supply of them and knows how to mould and meld them for noble purposes. No ruthless demagogue is he, luring people into all kinds of quicksand by the pleasing sirens with which he serenades them. Rather, he provokes you to think and reflect, prior to action, whether you would always agree with him or not. I don't, but he always makes me pause to critically consider.


I've known Deepak Morris for literally decades, as animator of a youth group with which he has been associated, on and off, for about thirty years. I've seen him grow from a somewhat shy, introvert schoolboy into a full-fledged, confident leader, not afraid to stand out as not being quite "one of the crowd". I've heard him debate, read many of his well thought-out pieces of writing and sat through some of his many thought-provoking plays. I know him as a skilled instructor in public speaking and a proficient emcee in many contexts. Indeed he has, more than once, tutored Miss India finalists on how to use words to impress their judges.


This armoury/treasury of Deepak's words is primarily addressed to business people. But lesser mortals, like myself, will feel themselves enriched after having gone through them, even if one cannot totally agree with a particular comment here and there. And one cannot deny that it is always well said and provides ample food for thought. Happy reading!


Cyril Desbruslais sj

Pune, India


Cyril Desbruslais is a Jesuit in Pune, with a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne, France. He is an expert on the Bible, having read it in the original Greek. His sermons attract international audiences but he continues to work among the youth in Pune, sure that his work will have universal repercussions.


Really Short Summaries of Shakespeare's Plays - Julius Caesar

Posted by deepakmorris on December 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Second in my series of really short summaries of Shakespeare's plays. The first was of The Merchant of Venice. Here's Julius Caesar:

 


The play revolves around the assassination of Julius Caesar by Senators Brutus, Cassius and others and the aftermath of the assassination.


Brutus loves Caesar but is persuaded by Cassius that he, Caesar, has become too ambitious and wants to be crowned Emperor of Rome. Convinced that this would be bad for Rome, Brutus joins the conspirators.


At the feast of Lupercal in February, as Caesar walks in triumph in parade after defeating the sons of Pompey, a soothsayer (fortune teller) warns Caesar to beware the Ides – the 15th – of March but Caesar ignores him.


Indeed, on the 15th of March, the conspirators stab Julius Caesar to death in the Capitol. Brutus immediately addresses the citizens and convinces them that the death of Caesar was necessary in order for Rome to survive. His oratory turns the citizens into fans of the conspirators.


Against the advice of the other conspirators, Brutus allows Marc Antony, Caesar’s best friend, to address the citizens. In a masterful speech that begins by praising the conspirators and then slowly plays upon the citizens’ sentiments and outright selfishness, Marc Antony turns the citizens against the conspirators. The conspirators flee a crowd baying for their blood.


Marc Antony joins with Caesar’s great-nephew Octavius and Lepidus to form an army to fight the army put together by Brutus and Cassius. Outnumbered and out-manoeuvred, first Cassius and then Brutus kill themselves.


The play ends with Marc Antony eulogising Brutus for being unselfish in his motive to kill Caesar and thus being “the noblest Roman of all”.

 


Really Short Summaries of Shakespeare's Plays - Julius Caesar

Posted by deepakmorris on December 2, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Continuing in my series of REALLY short synopses of Shakespeare's plays. The first was of The Merchant of Venice. Here's Julius Caesar.


The play revolves around the assassination of Julius Caesar by Senators Brutus, Cassius and others and the aftermath of the assassination.


Brutus loves Caesar but is persuaded by Cassius that he, Caesar, has become too ambitious and wants to be crowned Emperor of Rome. Convinced that this would be bad for Rome, Brutus joins the conspirators.


At the feast of Lupercal in February, as Caesar walks in triumph in parade after defeating the sons of Pompey, a soothsayer (fortune teller) warns Caesar to beware the Ides – the 15th – of March but Caesar ignores him.


Indeed, on the 15th of March, the conspirators stab Julius Caesar to death in the Capitol. Brutus immediately addresses the citizens and convinces them that the death of Caesar was necessary in order for Rome to survive. His oratory turns the citizens into fans of the conspirators.


Against the advice of the other conspirators, Brutus allows Marc Antony, Caesar’s best friend, to address the citizens. In a masterful speech that begins by praising the conspirators and then slowly plays upon the citizens’ sentiments and outright selfishness, Marc Antony turns the citizens against the conspirators. The conspirators flee a crowd baying for their blood.


Marc Antony joins with Caesar’s great-nephew Octavius and Lepidus and form an army to fight the army put together by Brutus and Cassius. Outnumbered and out-manoeuvred, first Cassius and then Brutus kill themselves.


The play ends with Marc Antony eulogising Brutus for being unselfish in his motive to kill Caesar and thus being “the noblest Roman of all”.

 


Forensic Script

Posted by deepakmorris on November 8, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

(The COACH and PLAYER are talking)

PLAYER: Hey Coach, I hear they tried playing cricket in China

COACH: Really? How did they fare?

PLAYER: Well, they tried it with Yu bowling, Mi batting and Shi fielding

COACH: Me bowling?

PLAYER: No, Mi batting

COACH: You just said I was bowling

PLAYER: No, Yu was bowling

COACH: That’s bad English

PLAYER: Concentrate, Coach, we aren’t talking of billiards or snooker. There’s no English in Cricket

COACH: That’s bad grammar AND bad history. The English INVENTED the blinking game innit?

PLAYER: What does that have to do with Yu, Mi and Shi?

COACH: Who’s she?

PLAYER: Fielding

COACH: She’s fielding?

PLAYER: Yes

COACH: But who’s she?

PLAYER: The fielder

COACH: The fielder’s a she?

PLAYER: Yes

COACH: When did cricket become a mixed game?

PLAYER: It was always mixed up if you ask me. You have two sides, one out in the field and one in

COACH: Correct. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out

PLAYER: Absolutely. When they are all out, the side that's o..........................................ut comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out

COACH: Crystal clear. So what was the problem?

PLAYER: It was Greek to the Chinese

COACH: The Chinese were trying to learn Greek?

PLAYER: No, Cricket

COACH: Greek Cricket?

PLAYER: Is that different from regular cricket?

COACH: I don’t know! I only know regular cricket. And these new-fangled Premier League things. Just not cricket, if you ask me

PLAYER: Yu doesn’t speak English. And why would he ask Mi?

COACH: Who?

PLAYER: Yu

COACH: Me?

PLAYER: Mi speaks a bit. But Yu and Shi are terrible

COACH: Me and she?

PLAYER: No, Yu and Shi

COACH: What’s wrong with my English?

PLAYER: Well Coach, I’ve seen your Snooker and your English is terrible

COACH: You’ve seen me play Snooker?

PLAYER: No I haven’t. I’ve seen Mi play cricket

COACH: How can you see you play cricket?

PLAYER: The same way I see Mi and Shi play cricket. On TV

COACH: You and she play cricket on TV?

PLAYER: All do. Yu, Mi and Shi

COACH: Ayeeee!

PLAYER: Ai’s the umpire

 

 

Cricket in China

Posted by deepakmorris on November 8, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

This script is available free of charge to be performed wherever one wants:

(The COACH and PLAYER are talking)

PLAYER: Hey Coach, I hear they tried playing cricket in China

COACH: Really? How did they fare?

PLAYER: Well, they tried it with Yu bowling, Mi batting and Shi fielding

COACH: Me bowling?

PLAYER: No, Mi batting

COACH: You just said I was bowling

PLAYER: No, Yu was bowling

COACH: That’s bad English

PLAYER: Concentrate, Coach, we aren’t talking of billiards or snooker. There’s no English in Cricket

COACH: That’s bad grammar AND bad history. The English INVENTED the blinking game innit?

PLAYER: What does that have to do with Yu, Mi and Shi?

COACH: Who’s she?

PLAYER: Fielding

COACH: She’s fielding?

PLAYER: Yes

COACH: But who’s she?

PLAYER: The fielder

COACH: The fielder’s a she?

PLAYER: Yes

COACH: When did cricket become a mixed game?

PLAYER: It was always mixed up if you ask me. You have two sides, one out in the field and one in

COACH: Correct. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out

PLAYER: Absolutely. When they are all out, the side that's o..........................................ut comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out

COACH: Crystal clear. So what was the problem?

PLAYER: It was Greek to the Chinese

COACH: The Chinese were trying to learn Greek?

PLAYER: No, Cricket

COACH: Greek Cricket?

PLAYER: Is that different from regular cricket?

COACH: I don’t know! I only know regular cricket. And these new-fangled Premier League things. Just not cricket, if you ask me

PLAYER: Yu doesn’t speak English. And why would he ask Mi?

COACH: Who?

PLAYER: Yu

COACH: Me?

PLAYER: Mi speaks a bit. But Yu and Shi are terrible

COACH: Me and she?

PLAYER: No, Yu and Shi

COACH: What’s wrong with my English?

PLAYER: Well Coach, I’ve seen your Snooker and your English is terrible

COACH: You’ve seen me play Snooker?

PLAYER: No I haven’t. I’ve seen Mi play cricket

COACH: How can you see you play cricket?

PLAYER: The same way I see Mi and Shi play cricket. On TV

COACH: You and she play cricket on TV?

PLAYER: All do. Yu, Mi and Shi

COACH: Ayeeee!

PLAYER: Ai’s the umpire

 

 


Suspension of Disbelief

Posted by deepakmorris on October 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Whenever I teach mime, I keep emphasising that, once you identify an object for an audience, it EXISTS for that audience and you must NEVER break that illusion.

Audiences want to believe. That is why they suspend disbelief. That is why a couple of crooked upright sticks on stage are willingly accepted as full grown trees by the audience. The audience is not interested in scenery that is distracting. It wants the scene to be suggested and then it wants to know what the ACTORS are going to do.

Or rather, the CHARACTERS. In live theatre, there are no actors. There are only characters. Swooning over a tall, dark and handsome actor rarely happens with stage actors. 

I never take feedback from a film-maker

Posted by deepakmorris on June 17, 2015 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (3)

I don't.

Film-makers work in a different world. They see things through a viewfinder. Their vision is narrow.

Theatre is vastly different. It doesn't have the luxury of a retake. It can't rely on editing to make a scene interesting. Either the actor makes the scene interesting or it just dies.

If a film-maker ever says you suck, take it as a compliment, for he has no idea what you do.

Accent (dialect) and the actor

Posted by deepakmorris on June 13, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I use the word "accent" here to mean the Indian equivalent of "dialect", as in, "Swamy has a South Indian accent" (when you mean Swamy speaks in a South Indian dialect).

When is it right and when wrong to use dialect?

There is a very simple test to apply; "Does the dialect help tell the story more effectively?"

If everyone in a Welsh play speaks in a Welsh dialect and you're the odd Indian playing a Welshman, you darn well learn the Welsh dialect. If you're playing a lone Indian in a Welsh play, be Indian!

Similarly in an Indian play featuring various communities, each with their own dialect, what value does the dialect add? If it's just giggles, you're in the wrong production. You're just a wannabee who hasn't made it to TV. Johny Lever managed it but if it were that easy, every one of you who can imitate a dialect would be a star.

Use dialect effectively, not for dubious effect!

REALLY short synopses of Shakespearean plays - The Merchant of Venice

Posted by deepakmorris on June 19, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Very often a student or performer is asked to encapsulate a Shakespearean play in a few paragraphs. Having searched high and low and found only really LONG synopses (not really the fault of the writers, Shakespeare is notoriously difficult to summarise), I have decided to make my own short summaries of Shakespeare's plays, beginning with The Merchant of Venice.

Here goes:

Bassanio is a young man in Venice who loves Portia, a rich heiress. Bassanio is poor and thinks he must present himself to Portia in suitable clothes and pomp. He decides to borrow 3,000 ducats. He approaches his good friend Antonio, who is a wealthy merchant. However, Antonio has no ready cash, since he has put his money into his trading ships. Antonio approaches Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, to borrow the money for Bassanio. Shylock is jealous of the Christian Antonio because he lends money without interest. Seeing a chance to trap Antonio, Shylock makes him sign an agreement that if the money and interest is not paid on the due date, Shylock can cut a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. Antonio is confident that his ships will return in time with money from his trade, so he agrees and signs the agreement.

 

Bassanio travels to Portia’s house. Portia’s late father has made a will that anyone who wants to marry Portia must solve a riddle to open the box that contains her portrait. Many have tried before and failed but Portia gives Bassanio a hint and he chooses the right box. Bassanio and Portia marry.

 

Bassanio comes to know that Antonio’s ships have not returned and may have sunk at sea. The due date for the loan has passed and Shylock is demanding the pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. Portia sends Bassanio to the Duke’s court to offer Shylock much more than the amount due to him if he drops the case.

 

After Bassanio leaves, Portia and her maid Nerissa disguise themselves as a male lawyer and his male clerk and go to the Duke’s court themselves. The Duke allows Portia to argue on behalf of Antonio.

 

Portia successfully argues that the agreement is for a pound of flesh only. No blood may be shed in the taking of the flesh. Shylock is trapped and loses the case, since he cannot take a pound of flesh without shedding blood. He is punished by having his property taken from him and given to his daughter, who has eloped with a Christian. Shylock himself is forced to convert to Christianity.

 

Antonio’s ships finally come in and everyone is happy except the ruined Shylock.

 


It's Mime Own Fault!

Posted by deepakmorris on June 14, 2014 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Teaching is fun but coming up with mime scenes for my students is even more fun. One scene that has received rave reviews from examiners:

 

Lost In The Forest:

A young girl wanders into a forest. She sees monkeys chattering and frolicking in the trees and watches for a while. Then she happens to look away and spots a pretty flower. She crosses to the flower, plucks it, smells it and puts it in her hair.

Then she spots something interesting opposite the flower bush. She crosses to look at it closely. It turns out to be a butterfly (this was ably shown by my student) and she watches as it flies up and flutters off the stage.

Right next to this bush is another bush with a flower that holds another insect. The girl peers into this flower as well. However, the insect turns out to be a bee and the girl reacts in near panic, trying to shoo away the bee.

Once the bee is gone, the girl looks around and realises she is lost. She runs in one direction. She hears a roar and stops. She rushes in the opposite direction. She hears another roar and freezes.

Finally, she hears a friend call from upstage. She shows her relief at being found and rushes to meet her friend.

END


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