The last time I was on stage,I was eight years old. It was a play about a father and his son. I didnt understand what it meant to be on stage; what acting,characterisation or any of these terms meant. Now I can really enjoy the entire process and so it feels like my first time in theatre, says Swapnil Joshi of his thespian debut,Get Well Soon.
Joshi,a popular film and television actor who was last seen on Eka Lagnachi Dusri Goshta and Papad Pol Shahabuddin Rathod Ki Rangeen Duniya,is taking to the stage for the first time with the play,written by Prashant Dalvi and directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni. The plays title is central to the story,says Joshi. The play is about every human being. There is a continuous fight within us,between the good and the bad,and there is always something pulling us in different directions. It could be something as simple as wanting to eat a burger even though it is unhealthy or something complex like relationships or morals, he says. Get Well Soon,according to Joshi,is what the plays protagonist says to people suffering from this conflict,including himself. There is a line in the play that defines disease as simply not being at ease. This is the journey of a man who is at unease making the transition towards being at ease.
The experience of acting onstage has been completely different from what Joshi is used to,but he is happy with the response he has been getting,he says. Of course,the audience is live and their reaction is instant. But more than that,in a film or in TV,you cant change your performance once it is released. But in theatre,every show can be different. In Marathi,he says,a theatre performance is called natkacha prayog,which translates to experiment. Every show is an experiment; you can change your approach,your attitude,the nuances and each time the audience will react differently. It is experiencing the Friday release anxiety but before every show, he explains.
Theatre was always something Joshi had wanted to do,he says. I had been thinking about it for the past 10 years. But I wanted to do it the old school way and give it all my time and do the rehearsals properly. So its not that there is the right time to begin with theatre,but just that I finally had some time to myself and decided to use it for this, he says. In fact,it was some time last year,when Joshi was wrapping up with his last projects that he decided he wanted a break from television. I met Chandrakant Kulkarni and said I wanted to work on a play with him. Luckily he had a script for me and when I heard it I knew I had to do it, he says,adding that the plays story is written by Prashant Dalvi.
The play has been written across 15 locations which vary from a hospital to a five-star hotel in the US. Even with the restrictions of theatrical boundaries,the play has cinematic proportions. At the same time,our approach hasnt been soap opera-style; we have kept the spirit of the play true to Marathi theatre, he says.
The play has finished five shows and will return to Pune on June 22 at Balgandharva Rangmanch. So far the reponse has been fantastic and the euphoria has been amazing. It has been everything I thought it would be,and more. I hope to take this around Maharashtra and beyond, he says.