English Drama in Pune

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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.

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

 

 


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.

Buy my scripts from Amazon!

Posted by deepakmorris on January 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Two of my scripts are now available for Kindle through Amazon at just a dollar a download!

If you don't own a Kindle it's no problem, just download the free Kindle for PC application.

So, here goes,

Download Business Is War

Or download Who Let The Dogs Out?

Just a dollar a download!

Music, rhythm and acting

Posted by deepakmorris on November 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I think it is very, very important for an actor to explore music. Music, far from being something just a few "gifted" people enjoy, is actually very much a part of every human being's speech and action. When someone has "an accent" (everyone thinks someone from a different country has an accent whereas he/she doesn't), rhythm, cadence, is very much part of that accent.

Play an upbeat song and a child automatically moves to the beat. Try it. If you think you're bad at music, just play an upbeat song for a child on your music system and see how it delights in moving to the music. No one taught it. It's doubtful if it had the chance to see someone dance but it dances!

Now see how changing the beat can actually change the music! The following is the original "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles:


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

See what happens to it when the beat is changed to Reggae:

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Note how Gray stays within the melody but the beat frees him to experiment more with the notes. How can this help you deliver lines differently? Can you change the beat so the lines become fresh because the notes you hit in your speech (oh yes, we hit notes in our speech) are different?


Making sense of a vague script

Posted by deepakmorris on August 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's an example of using your imagination to make sense of a vague script. I saw a question on Yahoo! Answers that asked how a particular script with no stage directions could be used to create a meaningful scene.

The question and my answer (selected as Best Answer) can be seen by clicking the link below:

Making sense of a vague script

The Matchmaker

Posted by deepakmorris on July 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

This is a monologue I wrote for the "Chillin' In My Brown Skin" Asian Festival in Toronto years ago. Enjoy:

The Matchmaker

 

By Deepak Morris

Copyright © Deepak Morris, 2005

 

(The Front Room of MRS CHITNIS’ home office. There is a table and a chair. There is a pile of files on the table. MRS CHITNIS’ voice is heard off)

 

MRS CHITNIS:

Come in, come in, my dear. What did you say your name was? (coming on) Anjali? Anjali Bambawale? Any relation to the Bambawale’s of Sadashiv Peth? You know, they live near Chitale Bandhu? The Sweetshop (pause) No? Oh, okay. (Sitting at the table) Let’s see now (searches among the files until she locates Anjali’s file, opens it, reads) Hmmm… 34? (Looks across at the imaginary Anjali) You’re THIRTY-FOUR years old? What have you been doing so long? Your parents should have tried to get you married long ago. And it’s no wonder you’re having difficulty finding a match… you’re dark skinned! Were your parents sleeping? They should have got you married ten years ago. Really, I tell you, parents are so lazy these days!

 

(Pause) What’s that you say? Father died six years ago? Well, really! How are you going to pay the dowry then? That’s the trouble with you ‘modern’ people. No idea how important it is to have a father alive and earning to pay the dowry. Hmmm… let’s see (reads the papers in the file) any brothers…. brothers... brothers… hmmm.. one brother… hmmm… older…. ACTOR? Which Serial? (Pause) Humph… STAGE ACTOR? We can write off any dowry contribution from him then. You people make it so difficult for the matchmaker these days. Let’s get one thing clear, young lady, though why I call you young I don’t know…. THIRTY-FOUR! And dark skinned too! As I was saying, let’s get one thing clear; with a skin like that and your age, the dowry will have to be hefty. (Pause) Illegal? Well of course dowry is illegal. That doesn’t stop people from asking and girls like you from paying if you want a good match.

 

Well, let’s see if we can salvage something from the situation…. (reads the papers again) You’re a POST-GRADUATE? What on earth were you thinking? First of all, you’re dark-skinned. Then you wait until you’re 34. And on top of that, you go and get a post graduate qualification. Now you’ll tell me you want someone better qualified than you. (Pause) I knew it! No doubt he’ll have to be earning more than you do too… Don’t nod like that! Do you know how difficult your position is? And mine too. I have a reputation to protect, you know. I’m the best matchmaker in Pune. And I don’t believe in that nonsense about being spurred by a good challenge. If I were interested in spurs, I’d be a jockey – now don’t interrupt, young lady (sneering tone at “young”) I don’t need a lesson on horseracing.

 

Anyway, let’s see... hmmmm… Occupation, teacher… College! Ah, that’s good, that’s good. Teachers are in demand these days, especially if they are willing to migrate to the USA… What’s that? (Pause) Now look here, you silly fool. None of that patriotic nonsense. What do you mean you want to stay in India? (Pause) Nothing doing. Apply for a job in the USA or Canada. Or at least Australia. No wait! Australia doesn’t recognise Indian qualifications. It has to be the USA. Don’t interrupt! So far, you’ve done all you can to spoil your chances of getting married. Now don’t spoil the one remaining chance.

 

Here’s what you do. Look through the appointment pages – the Opportunities Overseas section – and apply for all the teaching positions in the USA or Canada. Keep me informed. There are plenty of good boys who will jump at the chance to marry a girl who gets a job in the USA. Canada too. The minute you get a job there, we’ll fix an engagement. Better to fix things so that nobody backs out at the last minute. There was one girl who went off and then married somebody in the USA. So you’ll pay my fee before you leave India. Yes, you may go now… (Watches as the imaginary Anjali leaves, then sighs and shuts the file, to audience) THIRTY-FOUR! I hope I can find a fool who will believe that she is still innocent.

 

BLACKOUT

 

Note:

 

Women, regardless of age, who are looking for a husband are called “girls” in India. Similarly, a man looking for a wife is called a “boy”.

 

Innocent is a euphemism for virgin.