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

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A Most Serious Affair

Posted by deepakmorris on November 4, 2016 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

ACTOR: Well hello Mr. Producer, you wanted to see me?

PRODUCER: Yes hello. You are the actor who plays the lead role in “Kitty Parties” right?

ACTOR: That’s right. I play the long-suffering husbands who has to go to great lengths to –

PRODUCER: Yes, yes, that’s fine. But I’ve got a few complaints from viewers that your acting is insipid

ACTOR: What? That can’t be!

PRODUCER: I assure you, it is. I’m very close to the viewers. I have to take them seriously

ACTOR: But I always give it my best!

PRODUCER: Right, cry.

ACTOR: What?

PRODUCER: Cry

ACTOR: Why?

PRODUCER: You say you always give it your best. I want to see your best. So cry

ACTOR: Oh, so this is a screen test?

PRODUCER: Screen test, scream test, green test, we’ll be doing them all. Now cry

ACTOR: (Starts crying) Boo hoo hoo, My wife always spends so much money on her kitty parties… boo hoo… I have to work so hard to –

PRODUCER: Enough. Now laugh

ACTOR: Half?

PRODUCER: Laugh

ACTOR: Half laugh?

PRODUCER: Laugh!

ACTOR: (Starts laughing) Ha ha ha, my wife is so silly. I told her I’d been robbed and she believed me! Ha ha ha… now I won’t have to foot the bill for her stupid kitty parties

PRODUCER: Enough! Get frustrated

ACTOR: Arrrgghhhh… that wife of mine is driving me round the bend with her endless parties. Arrgh… one of these days I’m going to –

PRODUCER: Beg

ACTOR: Beg pardon?

PRODUCER: No pardon, just beg

ACTOR: Please… please dear, don’t host your kitty party here… please my love, it throws everything out of gear – hey, that rhymed!

PRODUCER: Yes, yes, you’re a poet, don’t I know it. Mime!

ACTOR: Yours?

PRODUCER: Mine? My what?

ACTOR: I don’t know, you said mine

PRODUCER: No I said mime

ACTOR: Oh, okay. Shall I do “trapped in a glass cube”?

PRODUCER: That’s fine, just mime

(Actor mimes “trapped in a glass cube”)

PRODUCER: Hmmm

ACTOR: Didn’t like it? I’ll do more! Shall I do walking against a stiff breeze? Climbing a ladder?

PRODUCER: No, no, no. I’m afraid it just won’t do. Your acting is worthless. I’m pulling “Kitty Parties” off the air

ACTOR: But… but… it’s such a great serial!

PRODUCER: Yes but haven’t you heard? I’m the serial killer!

 

How to write a novel or play - II

Posted by deepakmorris on September 7, 2016 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Let's go from "Pygmalion" to "My Fair Lady" to "Miss Congeniality" now:

I've already explained how Shaw took the legend of Pygmalion and turned it into a successful play and then movie, "My Fair Lady".

The morphing doesn't end there.

In the year 2000, Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford and Caryn Lucas wrote the screenplay of "Miss Congeniality", which was then made into the film of the same name, with Sandra Bullock in the title role.

It featured a transformation - FBI hard-candy agent Bullock being forced to be all goody-goody and mouth stock phrases like "World Peace", after being subjected to a bikini wax and other indignities in order to prevent a crime.

Since it would be creepy to have Bullock's trainer, Michael Caine (far, far older than she), fall in love with her, Caine was turned into a (probably) gay man and the one to fall in love with her was her "handler" in the FBI.

But it's still "raw --> then polished --> then romantic angle" and that's what Pygmalion can be boiled down to! And that's how Pygmalion can inspire a thousand more plays / movies!

How to write a novel or play

Posted by deepakmorris on September 5, 2016 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

To write a wonderful story or a gripping play, look to the legends. George Bernard Shaw took the legend of Pygmalion and turned it into "My Fair Lady", a hit musical and movie.

What is the legend of Pygmalion? Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue that he himself had carved. That's the Greek legend.

Now look at how cleverly Shaw turned that legend into a teacher of speech "sculpting" a "block of stone" - Pygmalion is Professor Henry Higgins, who teaches speech and the "block of stone" is Eliza Doolittle. Higgins teaches (sculpts) Eliza on a dare but falls in love with her, his own sculpture.

Once you have that complication, you have the plot and the freedom to make your own end to the play.

The second book in my Eclectica series on Amazon!

Posted by deepakmorris on June 24, 2016 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/eclectica2


And here's the Editor's blurb:


Deepak is a cunning businessman, and an inspired artist. His fundamental training in both has resulted in an art of business which is almost philosophical. This book attempts to focus upon that almost philosophical philosophy presented in Deepak Morris’s “Business Advice for an Artist.” Effortless living is an honest living, and the common interactions we have with people daily can result in uncommon friendship if we only permit ourselves to allow that most fundamentally honest relationship to grow. Deepak’s joy of living is natural and effortless – and we can share it too: beginning by admitting to ourselves, as Deepak does, that we have to eat and sleep. When we acknowledge this basic fact, we discover the importance of having fun – whether we dine alone or with friends or with strangers, whether we sleep peacefully or not. Life is an adventure, and we write the story. And as Deepak has shown, we can make it a better one – for everybody.

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:


Foreword – 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.

To check out the books I've written available on Amazon, please go to my Author Page.


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”.

 


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!


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