It started off as a pleasant evening, the whos who of the Indian theatre scene walked the red carpet at the lawns of the Taj Mansingh. Perizaad Zorabian and Denzel Smith kicked off the evening and took us through the technical awards. The teams from Kerala (Macbeth and Moment Just Before Death) swept through most of them. And when they spoke, it came from a place deep inside. They had the best lines of the evening! M.G.Jyothish, who won four awards, the most to be won by an individual, came in a borrowed suit!
And then, the storm came from nowhere. The wind raged, the rain lashed, standees were falling down right, left and center; everyone stood their ground and the show went on. All for the love of theatre. As Shabana Azmi aptly put it, This is theatre happening right here. Unexpected circumstances, and weve got to figure out how to keep the audience from leaving. Lord Indra bore witness to the latter bunch of awards showering us with his blessings.
The META Lifetime Achivement Award was presented this year to Girish Raghunath Karnad for his phenomenal contribution to the Indian stage. Mr.Karnad spoke of a time when no such designation as a playwright existed or was required to produce a play.
There was talk of encouraging corporates to take up theatre as a part of their CSR campaigns, there was debate about treating art as competition, using META as a platform to protect the performers at Shadipur Depot. One thing stood out, clear as crystal. Theatre is about passion, raw unadulterated passion, everyone in theatre is there simply because of it and nothing else. Everything else is secondary.
Sanjoy Roy closed the festivities, The next youre invited to watch a performance, be sure to buy a ticket, contribute something. Artists also have lives, they want to educate their children, they want to go eat at a nice restaurant, none of which can be done with the 6000 rupees per month which the government offers.