Wednesday, January 18, 2012
If someone came up to me wanting to know what it takes to be a playwright ….I’m almost sure of finding myself with very little to say. Before anything else, I’ll ask myself why it is that I write? Is it my love for theatre, my passion ,the madness….? All but a farce…..because after so many years perhaps all this should have begun to lose its shine. My reasons lie elsewhere. The truth is , that writing a play or writing itself, for that matter, is seamlessly woven into the fabric of my being. There is never the need for any effort towards wanting to write…. I find myself thinking about writing almost all day…in gatherings…around friends….anywhere , it lingers in my thoughts like a lover. Kafka eloquently phrased that , ‘To write I need death like silence’. Now that brings me to my very next question, which is, how important is it to write for me? To answer which I quote Rilke , who once said to a young poet that ‘Ask yourself in the quietest hour of the night, is writing a primary necessity? The answer must be a ‘yes’ if you’re living all alone and apart from yourself, can turn to no one.’
The journey of a writer, having lived all this silence and solitude, begins not with his first play…but with his second. Because that is where, comes in the dilution of the expectations of his audience. The juncture where he finds himself having to walk the line between what it is that he wants to write vis-à-vis that which he should.
In my limited experience, I have seen that a writer who tends to create anything with his audience in mind is more often than not lost. He ends up in a space where whatever he churns out is projected outwards rather than inward. The real graph or the complete circle of the life of a writer comes alive only when he can’t and doesn’t repeat his work irrespective of the consequences. And in that circle what matters most is how entertained he remains with the constant surprise element in his work for him.
Does a play change the world, a society, a country ? No. It’s a momentary form of art that caters to a niche audience lasting not more than a couple of hours. Its like life itself , where what you experience for that time in space is nothing more than a memory right after its lived. Which is what brings so much beauty to theatre and to the eyes that witness it. “Literature doesn’t give one water , all it gives is a realisaion of an unquenchable thirst. When in a dream you drink water, on waking you realise how thirsty you actually were. “ I find that Nirmal Verma’s words beautifully sum up the taste of living around theatre for me.