Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lights! Camera! Action!

Was looking at Zoya all dressed up to do her Krishna Gopi dance in school today and was flooded with memories.

Of my stage performances- kathak, shatriya nritya, bihu, debate, extempore, elocution... there was no competition or show where I wasn't there. Ma firmly believed that I was talented and went all out to put me in the spotlight.

But noone knew what I was going through. The agony, the fear, the clammy hands. For I was a victim of stage fright. Third degree. Before every show I would beg and plea asking ma to spare me. But next day I was up there in the spotlight. And when the lights came on, I would look at her, always in the wings, and begin.

Days merged into months that melted into years. I was all grown up, working. But the performances continued and do so even today. Every day we are performing. Whether it is in our roles in life, or in our careers. Some are real performances- like a client presentation, workshop, seminar or a business pitch. Some are not so evident but still performances. In everyday life.

Feels good to share some of the tips I taught myself for a good performance. Before the show begins.

1. Practice. Practice. Practice. There are no shortcuts.

2. Spend a few minutes alone just before the performance .

3. Focus. There should be no other thoughts except the performance.

4. Smile at others around you. Could be people in the boardroom or the musicians or lightmen behind the stage.

5. Whisper a silent prayer, thanking God for the opportunity and for the great audience out there.

6. And then, as the curtains swing back, take a deep breath, step out with the step of confidence knowing you are the best. And begin.

On stage, there is no room for deceit or pretenses. Only the honest can truly survive. Honest to what we perform, honest about what we say and act or do.There is no right or wrong out there. Its about being original and believing in what we perform.

Finally, we perform best when we are not under pressure. It's a lesson for the stage proud mums and dads out there including myself. Just let kids be kids. They are natural performers and just need encouragement. It's a lesson for the senior colleagues at work. Let people perform in their own style. They just need guidance.

And before I end, like we are all performers, we are also audiences. Let's go all out and clap and cheer. For the biggest reward a performer can receive when the curtains go down is the resounding echo of applause.