I have to write about two performances that I enjoyed in the last week.
One was last Sunday evening at the Palace Grounds – Octoberfest, the festival organized by Kingfisher. Since, beer is not something that tickles my fancy (or my tastebuds), I was hoping the music would be worth going for. On that note, I must also add, that I was pleasantly surprised by the way the whole set-up was organized. They had nice seating arrangements all around the front area of the stage, so you could chill out and eat your food and drink your beer and enjoy the music from wherever you were.
TAAQ ROCKS! : Sunday night was slated for Thermal & A Quarter’s (TAAQ) performance as Bijoy – who’s closely associated with the group – informed us as we were lunching together a few days prior. So, on a lazy Sunday evening, along with an even lazier Venx (it was only the promise of all my beer coupons that he agreed to accompany me) we made our way to the festival.
Bangalore, I must say, is pretty chilled out that way. Every weekend I decide that I will be a homebody and do something constructive like paint (or study for that matter). And then something more exciting invariably pops up : a concert, a food fest, exhibitions, plays etc. You won’t have a problem keeping busy here, that’s for sure.
Anyway, coming back to my initial point, TAAQ proved to be much better than I had initially expected. Though I had listened to a couple of their songs online, watching them live, was a different experience altogether. Lead vocalist, Bruce Lee Mani, and his team members : Rajeev, Rhzude, and Sunil – were delightfully good and had an appreciative audience to boot (amongst them a few drunk!), hitting the right note with Shine on you Crazy Diamond. Other than that, they mostly performed their songs and a couple of other covers.
I must say I spent most of the evening happily watching Mani and his rather awesome head of hair (and listening to him, of course 🙂 Smita, the drummer Rajeev’s wife came up and said hello and said she reads my blog, which was really sweet. And I am now an official TAAQ fan. Please check them out if you haven’t already and their website. Their latest album is there available for download so grab the songs. Such incredible talent, right here from namma Bangaloru!
In another part of the ground, DJ Ivan was rocking the crowd in a dome : a makeshift dance floor (a huge one at that) they had created for the occasion. Lots of psychedelic lights and enthusiastic people (you have to grab every opportunity to dance here in Bangalore!).
Venx, Apra and Anshu (who were also there) had a beer fight (well, a near beer fight) over the last remaining can of Kingfisher. Ultimately, it didn’t land up in anyone’s belly, but all over the floor instead. Quite a sad end for that last can. Thankfully, a beer brawl was averted as they were too happy after the many litres they had already consumed earlier in the evening. Beearp!
Which brings me to the second performance. A Shakespearean play called Measure for Measure, performed by the group Complicite at the Rangashankara last evening. You can imagine me quaking in my boots (chappals, actually, but you get the point) when the play started with this dialogue:
Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you: then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency as your Worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,
Our city’s institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you’re as pregnant in
As art and practise hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
(On an aside, having a friend like Ree, who talks like this: â€œCan I ask you a â€˜koshen‘?â€ or â€œWhat it is that you are doing?â€ has brought down our vocabulary to deplorable levels already.)
But a few minutes into the play, we started getting warmed up to the language and actually even began to comprehend parts of it.
The play was brilliant in a lot of ways. The production was superb; the lighting, the timing of the actors, the way they morphed one scene into another : all faultless. It’s worth watching just for all these factors. And not in the least, the performances of the actors, seemed effortless as they matched each other in their acting prowess.
In particular, I thought Angelo, the Duke and Isabelle did a fantastic job in their roles (not sure what the actors name were). The group, according to their website, are going to perform next in Milan and Grenoble, so not much hope of catching them if you haven’t already.
Rangashankara must be applauded for the great work it’s doing bringing these plays to audiences here in Bangalore.
My only prior experience with Shakespearean English was a college theatre group aptly named and sometimes purposely mispronounced â€˜Shakespeare Society’. For two years, I did less studying and more of practicing, and trying to act. We had decided to perform the Merchant of Venice and I was playing the part of Jessica.
I am not completely sure what I did now and how I pulled off the part, but my short stint with stage did 2 things : made me realize that acting was not my calling and more importantly made me appreciate actors who can spout such language, and act at the same time!