‘Digital and live to sync together’


Actor, comic and musician Aadar Malik says digital and live experiences will have to sync in the future, and make for an opportunity that many performers and productions will explore in a big way…Aadar speaks with Siddhi Jain.

Malik features in Rajat Kapoor’s adaptation of the Shakespearean comedy ‘As You Like It’, titled ‘I Don’t Like It As You Like It’, which has gone digital with Aadyam’s digital edition. The play is available to watch on Insider’s theatre platform on December 12 and 13.

Excerpts from an IANSlife chat with Aadar Malik:

As an actor, how different is taking the stage to screen? Do you find it challenging?

Honestly speaking, the question of stage vs screen is asked mostly to theatre actors because I think we are the only people who end up experiencing both in a very serious way. It is something that is very different in terms of the number of takes that you would get, you get to really experience what the script is taking the character through on stage and so both have their ups and downs. In fact right now, it’s so weird that we have to — speaking in terms of this show — because we are so accustomed to going through the motions of this character in that one and half to two hours. Now suddenly when you are in this space where you know there are so many cameras and you have to, as opposed to acting for the audience you know that there are certain cameras are replaced in certain places that you have to perform for. That really is a bit of a shock to the system after you performed 60-70 shows. That is new but other than that I think in the basic principle of it is just remains the same. You have to adjust a little here and there but over the years I just figured out that it’s it’s ultimately the same, it’s just certain things change, certain aspects change but acting in the acting in its basic form remains the same.

In terms of connecting with the audience, both in comedy and theatre, there’s some live feedback that may help the performer. In digital performances, this feedback may not be present. Does this affect a performance?

Of course, live feedback helps. That’s why a lot of people talk of stage performances like a drug, because of that live feedback, that immediate applause, or laughter, or even if you’re performing something dramatic, it’s that immediate reaction that really fuels you, and I think after a while you start getting dependant on it. And as someone who’s been creating content on YouTube and other platforms, I do feel you get immediate feedback in the comments section which is not feedback that is not constructive in the strictest sense. So, the lucky part is that we know how the audience reacts to this show, we had enough experience with the sheer number and magnitude of the sbows we have done. In this case (recorded play), not having that feedback and assuming that feedback in some moments is because we have done it so many times. That’s a big advantage in terms of shooting the play as a compared to shooting a new show for a maiden production entirely. That would be quite difficult because plays do come into their own after the 20th-30th show, so you really start figuring out a lot of things as a group.

Going forward, how do you think digital and live performances will sync together? Do you see both happening together?

We will have to. Digital and live will have to sync together. I think there’s a major integration as far as live and digital that’s going to come our way. You could be performing for an audience that is geolocked in America by creating a stage and a worthwhile experience for them while staying in Bombay. I think that is something that is going to be explored very seriously by a lot of performers and productions very soon.

Please tell us a little about your role in ‘I Don’t Like It, As You Like It’.

In ‘I Don’t Like It As You Like It’, we are performing as a troupe of clowns who are trying to put up a play ‘As You Like It’, and their theatre gets taken away from them, and they have to make the most of what they are left with, which is pretty much nothing, and they end up performing in a jungle. It’s a really nice connection to the situation we are in right now, because we have lost our ability to perform on stage because of a pandemic. Now we are trying our best to bring it to an audience.

My clown is Coco, who ends up playing Rosalind but wanted to play Orlando. That’s the role reversal we are playing with which is very Shakespearean in a way because most of the female characters were played by men. We really went on that where the men are playing women and women are playing men by the end of the show. It’s something that has really excited me, and I always wanted to do it in a way truly unique and this particular production – Rajat Kapoor’s version – is really the right way to attack something like this and have fun while doing it.

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