A bunch of thoughts….

Like I mentioned in my last rambling post, things have been pretty crazy, and I finally got time to sit down and pound the keys with my random-est of thoughts  in awhile.

Rehearsals are finally going to be off to a flying start from Tuesday, now that I have the schedule in place.  Once I e-mail the schedule to everyone, they just need to follow the dates and turn up. The process we normally follow is to get everyone’s busy dates, input those into the calendar first, and then create the rehearsal schedule around it. The idea, of course, is to ensure that people’s prior commitments are given importance. And then once the schedule is in place (as it is now) all they have to do is give it the dedication it requires thereafter.

From the looks of things, we will have finished rehearsals before Christmas (assuming everybody – including myself – sticks to the schedule) and then we have some time after the Christmas break to rework scenes, tweak stuff here and there, and basically make last-minute changes.

There will be 10,000 things to attend to in between, so it remains to be seen how diligently we will all follow the schedule. Hey, but a brother’s gotta try, right?

We’re still looking for people who want to work full-time or part-time with Stagefright on marketing work, production work, and backstage.

Sleep is coming, hence I will sign out before I start to type more nonsense than I already have.


Creative Director


Poultry in motion….

Okay peeps, sorry for the gap in posts. Been doing my version of a headless chicken for the last few days. Hopefully these links will make up for it.



Rehearsals started on Sunday, October 17 with a reading, as you can see in the pix above. I will be working with individuals during the week, and again this Sunday, we are all meeting to start some of the bigger scenes.

In between all of this, I am running around for sponsorship as well, and that leads me back to a point I raised in an earlier post. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in helping out with generating sponsorship, we can try to make it worth your while. That means being part of the Stagefright team AND getting paid for it. (Yeah, NOW we’re talking…!)

Hope you like the little sneak peek we’ve created. We’re gonna try and make it a regular thing…


Creative Director

And the action begins….

Wow. What a tiring week! There’s been frantic activity happening behind the scenes, with meetings with the crew and prep work for rehearsals, before we jump into everything.

(From right to left) Prasanna: Hmmm, how do I design the different costumes for all the 48 characters? -- Becky: Where do I pick up the cutlery, tablecloths and all the other props that we need? -- Neesh: WHERE THE HELL DO I GET ALL THE MONEY WE NEED FOR THIS????

I know that some of you have been waiting breathlessly (makes for an interesting visual, considering I don’t know what most of you look like yet…) to hear about the casting so let me  get to that sooner than later.

However, before I let that cat out of the bag, let me mention something that a lot of you wouldn’t know.

When we found ourselves faced with the load of talent that we did, we decided to do something unusual, and that is to double-cast certain roles. The idea behind this is to give more people the opportunity to get on stage, but it also provides us a backup in the untoward event that an actor is unable to perform at the last minute.

It is a common practice to cast understudies for roles, but interestingly, even that is not common in our venerable theatre community. Which makes the idea of double-casting even more bizarre. It implies double the work, double the time, double the costumes… you get the idea. But the opportunity to put more people on stage and work with them is a concept that totally thrills me, and by and large, it’s my raison d’etre for doing theatre.

(Okay, have I dilly-dallied enough?)

The casting is 90% done. I say 90% because there’s always the possibility that I’ve missed out on someone’s talent and so I’m keeping that door open. But for now, here are the main roles as they have been announced:

  • Johnny Castle – Cassius Leon
  • Baby Houseman – Aparna Narayan & Pooja Balu
  • Penny Johnson – Aparna Nagesh & Amrita Samant
  • Dr. Houseman – Yohan Chacko
  • Mrs. Houseman – Pushpa Balu
  • Lisa Houseman – Taberah D’Couto
  • Max Kellerman – Sharavana Raghavan
  • Neal Kellerman – Roshan Joseph Mathew
  • Robbie Gould – Rajiv Rajaram

These are the main characters. We still have another 20 to 25 people who are essaying roles of resort guests, waiters, and of course, dirty dancers.

My backstage team is gonna be really important in making a project of this size work successfully, and I’m happy to say that we have an enthu and dedicated team on board. Principal crew members include:

  • Stage management – Nirmal Kumar
  • Properties management – Becky George
  • Technical team – Paul Philip, Pradeep Kalipurayath, Ganesh Swaroop, Charan, & Selvakartik
  • Costumes – Prasanna & Priyabat

“Okay, everyone look busy for the camera…”

There are still more people in the team, and some of the cast members are helping with behind-the-scenes work as well, so all in all, things are chugging on!

More later!


Creative Director

This is Stagefright!!

I spent the day making this video. (Bloody hell, is my system ever slow.) It’s a promo film for Stagefright. Pliss yenjoy and then to give comments.


Creative Director


Even MORE progress…!

Phew! This auditioning stuff is tiring!!!

About a dozen people hadn’t made it for the previous workshop, so we organized a second one for them – so that everyone gets a fair shot at being in the show – and that was another bunch of fun that we had two days ago on Sunday.

And in between, we managed to meet with another 15 or so MCCians who were interested, so all told, we have met approximately 90 people as part of these auditions! (NOW do you know why I’m exhausted???)

On another note, it’s actually pretty mind-blowing how much talent exists in our city, but the unfortunate part is that it seems as if not many of our venerable theatre groups are keen to work with newcomers. Maybe they don’t want to take the effort to train people. Maybe they don’t know HOW to. Maybe they don’t think it’s worthwhile. Maybe they want to maintain the limelight for themselves. Who knows. After all, no one’s talking.

Many groups seem to stick to their little cliques and the result of this is that you see that same actors, over and over, on stage all the time. Now mind you, this would be bearable if actors had the ability to completely transform themselves every time they essayed a new character, but honestly, that’s a skill that even seasoned veterans find difficult to achieve.

Which is why I’m puzzled about the frequency with which groups put up shows. Some groups stage shows every quarter, making me wonder how much they could possibly have rehearsed. (We all know how time-consuming the allied activities for a production can be…) But I guess the answer lies in the fact that the audiences are still coming in – regardless of how shoddy a production ends up being. So as far as THESE groups are concerned, why should they care, right? After all, they’re getting their chance to be in the limelight, which IS their primary objective…. Sigh….

(Yes Tina, I AM a tad troubled today….) 🙂

Ah, but fear not. Amidst all this wailing and gnashing of teeth, I remain committed to my cause. (My halo is brightening again..) Stagefright has always been happy to work with newcomers, and my greatest thrill is to work with people who show potential and display the right attitude (for those of you wondering what the ‘right’ attitude is, it means a positive attitude).

Having said that, we have decided to make this whole thing a bit more permanent and are now looking for kindred souls who want to work on a permanent basis with us. Permanent, of course, can be defined anyway we mutually agree upon. It could be permanently part-time, or permanently full-time or officially unofficial or unofficially official, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line: if you or anyone you know would like to work on creating magic on stage with us, please do let us know.

I’m off to cast my play!! See you in a bit!!


Creative Director and Teeth-Gnasher


We had a second round of auditions on Saturday, September 25 and it was a god chance to watch everyone in action. We held a 2-hour workshop that everyone seemed to enjoy, and it was followed by a dance workshop to watch the dancers shake that thang!!!

All in all, a very satisfying day.

Unfortunately there were about a dozen people who couldn’t make it last Saturday so to be fair to them, we are having one more workshop the coming weekend to let them flex their muscles as well.

Casting WILL be done soon, now that we have gotten a look at everyone. And while it’s an exciting part of any production, casting is also quite daunting because invariably, SOMEone gets disappointed, even though everyone knows that there only limited roles.

Which is why we are trying our best to accommodate everyone. I’ve always maintained that while aptitude in histrionics is certainly a strength and is something that needs to be given its due, I’d much rather work with people who have a positive ATTITUDE instead. I can always facilitate acting skills, but it’s a lot tougher to do that with attitude.

Anyhoo…. stay tuned and you shall know the entire scoop soonly!!!!


Creative Director

Mission Possible!

After the weekend got over, I found myself standing with a list of about 75 people who want to either act, sing, or dance onstage or else be part of our backstage team or else help with production details. And considering I was looking at half that number, I think that’s a good sign!!!!!

Yup, auditions went extremely well, and we ended up with about 75 people coming forward. Not surprisingly, most of them were very talented in their chosen field and it pretty much proved what I’ve known all along: Chennai has some of the most awesome and incredible talent around, but most people just don’t get enough opportunities to showcase that talent. (Yes, I AM patting myself on the back right now…)

Mark, the principal judge at the auditions. If he does a double take and stops frozen in his tracks while you're performing, you MAY have a chance...

The next step will be the callbacks, for actors and for dancers, and also for the backstage team. That will hopefully happen this weekend itself, and then we’ll be rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

Mind you, we are still open to meeting anyone who may be interested in auditioning, so if you know anyone who couldn’t make it on the weekend and thinks that they cannot audition now, please let them know to contact Neesha at 98409 07755 as quickly as possible.

Stage Manager Nirmal Kumar trying to figure out how to type ‘Dirty’. (Derty? Durty? Dirtee? Hmm….)

Yup, it looks like we’re in for exciting times ahead! Stay tuned to this space and drop us a line if you have any thoughts, any thoughts at all, even if they’re unrelated to anything I’ve said here….


Creative Director, Stagefright

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