The drama is in the details movement,music,song,dance and expressions. All this and more makes theatre humane. It is with this premise that theatre guru Barry John continues to train young actors to first connect with themselves,and then with the outside world. This connect is what makes a good actor,says John as he talks about the process of theatre training. In the city to watch a performance by the students trained by Barry John Acting Studio as part of a summer workshop at Chitkara International School, John describes the effort as a step to empower children.
Experiential is the word that John uses to describe the anatomy of theatre training,especially when it comes to children. Through body movements,scriptwriting,gibberish and mime,children are encouraged to create theatre from their own experiences and express freely in their own language. Theatre is empowerment,celebrating the fact that we are all different but have the freedom to voice our own opinions and be our own person,without being judgmental, says John.
This is what John has tried to incorporate in the textbooks for CBSEs pilot project for theatre studies in schools for Class XI and XII. John hopes the project will make theatre an integral part of the learning ladder. The idea is to use drama to understand tough subjects,solve intricate issues of learning,open the minds and hearts and finally get students to make a career in theatre,be it on or off stage. In the final year,we hope the entire class will function like a small theatre company, he adds.
Having trained many actors who are now part of the film industry,including Shah Rukh Khan,John dismisses the idea that there is a magic formula for stardom. Sometimes,the best actors dont make it,while others attain success. Its a strange world,you never know what works. But yes,theatre is the most rigorous education for actors,for here you are performing the entire script, he says.
Though closely associated with films,John has never been a part of the film world,for he says it doesnt excite him,I am a nautankiwallah,nothing comes close to the world of theatre. Its small and special and its only in theatre that you are treated humanely, says John.