Managing the Stage.

Masoom Parmar reminisces about stage management for our production “Madhur Milan”. Excerpts…

A year and eight months and I have my wings tested big time… After working for so long under the watchful eyes of GBa (that is Geetha Ballal for starters), I had to handle backstage for Nritarutya’s musical “Madhur Milan” without her. This was a job that demanded attention to the minutest detail. The anxiety of handling a team of 102 artistes was heightened by the fact that the client was none other than the Ambani matriarch Smt. Kokilaben Ambani.

The starting point was gathering references for the look of the dancers and the main characters viz Krishna, Yashoda, radha and Meera. While Mayuri did have a clear picture of what she wanted for each character and the dancers in general, the sourcing of references was a mammoth task nevertheless. I’d say that the production team was actually googling every Indian community, looking for that uniqueness in the way they dress, the accessories they use, their culture and their versions and stories on one of the most favorite lords, Lord Krishna. So the musical had references from Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. With AJSK team on board for costumes, Kapil and his team on makeup and Natura for the Aerial rigging, we were assured that there wouldn’t be a vast difference in our vision and the final product.

The next step was to streamline the roles of team members on board, the members being I, Veena and Gaurav. While Gaurav and Veena did come with a prior experience, I was a pretty novice. Late night meetings at Mayuri’s residence saw us drafting our roles for the production, delineating our responsibilities and deciding the bad cop/good cop!

Once we landed at Mumbai, through well planned scheduling and co-ordination, we did manage to have smooth run throughs for the show. The real task there was the last minute sourcing and fetching of properties, a task made increasingly difficult by the long distance between the venue of performance and the market and Mumbai’s awesome traffic. Lesson learnt: NEVER EVER DEPEND ON LAST MINUTE PURCHASES UNLESS AND UNTIL YOU KNOW THE CITY WELL.

The thing that I think probably worked best was the rehearsal scheduling and planning that was done in Bangalore. Even though the core team was travelling to Bodhgaya and Hyderabad during the rehearsals for the production, the production was not affected much due to some wise planning.

And thanks to our hardwork and a bit of luck, we did manage to pull off an awesome showcase.


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