“All the world’s a stage”, a well-known phrase that begins a monologue in William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’, compares the world to a stage, life to a play and people to the players / actors. Whilst this may hold true in a philosophical sense, the reality of finding that ‘perfect platform’ is far from being that simple for many a performing artist. It is linked with trials and tribulations that have their highs and lows, and are the essence of the lives of artists around the world.
When the performing arts are being introduced and pursued as a hobby, one finds many avenues to share ones talent with an audience. Children in schools have school performances; performing art schools or classes that impart one with such training have their annual shows that allow the students to showcase their talent. In such cases, it is more to do with showing what you have learnt and encouraging all the participants equally with no necessary focus on naturally talented artists.
The strife begins when those who later take up the performing arts as a profession start exploring avenues. For a struggling new comer, any opportunity is god sent. The most organised amongst performance avenues are in the conventionally accepted performing arts like dance, music and theatre / acting. Dancers often find place in dance troupes that allow them to showcase their talent in a production. Dance troupes in India and abroad like the Chitresh Das Dance Company, the Mamta Shankar Ballet troupe and dance companies of schools like Nrityagram, Kalakshetra, Kadamb and Darpana Academy to name a few, have launched and encouraged many young dancers of which a large number have then gone on to become acclaimed artists in their own right. The same can be said about music troupes.
Theatre academies like National School Of Drama, Ninasam (Karnataka), Janam (Delhi) and Abhinaya (Thiruvananthapuram) etc. have their in house repertoire companies or produce plays under their banner (eg. Prithvi theatre’s Prithvi Players) that launch and sustain talents. These forums also conduct workshops where often the in-house actors then change roles to become teachers who impart and share their own knowledge with new comers. Acting in movies – Bollywood, has been the ultimate goal for many an actor. While it may be the best platform for an acting aspirant, the sheer number of prospect actors vis-a-vis the number of productions, makes it that much more difficult for a person to get through to the other side. Hence many actors are now focussing on television as their medium to get across to the audience.
Television has become a fantastic stage for a talent to display their skill. Aspiring artists are going all out to participate in television shows in the hope that they can get them a break. What is also interesting is the variety of talent shows and acts that one sees on television these days and all with fair bit of quality being displayed. Shows like ‘So you think you can Dance’, ‘Dancing with the stars’, Indian/American Idol etc have gained such immense popularity that the show models have been replicated in multiple languages in multiple countries across the globe. These shows also showcase talents of choreographers – which then becomes a permanent platform for them and are also pushing their limits of creativity. Shows like ‘India’s got talent’ showcase a vast glossary of talent definitions. Along with introducing them, Television as a medium also sustains talents like that of actors in television series, actors and musicians in jingles and promos, choreographers in dance shows to name a few.
Along with these avenues, one also sees a large increase in the number of festivals and forums happening across the world that showcase artists. Such platforms bring in new talent and allow them to share their art to large volumes of spectators. The appreciation and recognition received is instantaneous in such platforms because of the media and word of mouth coverage they carry, on account of their volume. The initial expression of these is the inter-collegiate fests, talent quests partnered by media/ news agencies etc. These give upcoming artists a perfect platform to showcase their talent and get noticed while facing a large audience. Large scale manifestations of these are Festivals like Sunburn, Stormfestival etc where new/local artists can rub shoulders with the world renowned.
With the entertainment industry booming and the definitions of classic entertainment changing – both content and method of display; performance of the arts is becoming more and more linked with the daily lives of people. Artists are finding creative satisfaction in performing on the streets be it street plays, performance art or music. The scale of events that people are organising for personal or professional functions has gone up. Hence these are also offering a huge platform for artists to perform in. Most product launches / art gallery openings / show launches / high profile parties / theme restaurants etc are all associated with live performances that showcase an act, that can entertain while complementing the mood of the event or space. Even personal events like weddings and birthday parties have become a space where artists can showcase their art. Event managers are constantly on the lookout for new talent that they can use in such gatherings. And then there is the space of virtual media where the entire world becomes the stage to a performing artist where he/she can get across to millions through ‘YouTube’ and such others.
So while there is no denying that being noticed and getting that opportunity to perform and be appreciated by an audience, is probably the biggest trial in the life of a performing artist – the truth is that as compared to few years ago, the avenues are many more. The key lies in being able to crack the code and find that one arena that perfectly showcases ones talent, the arena that will breathe in life in any artist – that one seemingly elusive ‘STAGE’.
A struggle of this sort often takes the steam out of a brilliant artist and ends up in despair. But this is where a medium like Match [My] Talent will help – where artists can reach out to a whole gamut of prospect avenues or even better where the avenues will reach out to the talent themselves. If it works out for an artist, it is the ideal situation to be in – where he/she can concentrate on bettering their skills rather than running from pillar to post looking for opportunities. It is a mutually beneficial platform for both sides of the coin and hence worth exploring by anyone in the field of the performing arts.