More often than not, acting workshops that I’ve attended, participated or even remotely heard of range from giving you scenes from movies to enact, to the basic warm-up exercises and ice breakers or are just plain commercial where you have no clue what you’ve spent your money on. Not to discount the existence of good workshops or to say that this is THE best of the lot would be putting it in a unidirectional perspective. But when you have ‘Recyclewala Labs’ presenting an acting workshop, the least an excited fanboy like me could do was to find out more about it. A day later I’m in a conference room filled with people, all about my age from various backgrounds, curious, scared (mostly the former) and all ready to step into footwear of all shapes and sizes.
In walks an unassuming man, scanning, skimming through the room and reciprocating the same nerviness and curiosity but smiling with all his heart nonetheless. Alok Ulfat, our mentor for the weekend had arrived and with such humility. Backed by incredible experience of teaching the art of expression for about two and half decades, around the world, here he was, to mould and guide his bunch of guinea pigs. The team was straightforward from the word go that they were testing waters in Bangalore and based on the response of this workshop (I’d say we killed it), they would try and do a bigger, better one the next time around.
But with the kind of enthusiasm and variety Alok brought in right from the first day, we’d left any doubts we had outside of the room. From the moment we started off, our minds were never idle. There were all kinds of warm-up activities. then we’d sit down and dwell deep on something in such less time and the next moment we were up dancing about. The entire two and half days were filled with high energy, super intense modules. But this whole time Alok never gave us readymade, foolproof devices for acting. Throughout the workshop we were never taught to act. And that was the beauty of it. At the end of the workshop, I came out feeling better, ready to go out there and do something for myself.
We did everything from running, walking, singing, dancing, heck even painting. We were asked to explore , get out of our comfort zones and through all of this we were building a strong base to trust our intuition. Creativity at it’s best can be seen when one works on his/her strengths in tandem with submitting himself/herself to the art itself. “To involve is to evolve” was the mantra of the workshop. It all works like a spiral, Alok said, the more you get into your art, the better you will get at it. And so we explored the spiral way of doing things.
One of the reasons why I’ve taken a long while to write this was because I was so blown away by what I experienced over that weekend. I was sleepless because I had put my everything into it and this happens only when I’m really interested in grasping something and I really wanted to see where we were getting. Halfway through the workshop, I stopped looking. I didn’t want to know what was at the end of it all anymore. I was more involved with what I was doing during the workshop and I knew this would help me craft whatever I wanted and I could dictate where I wanted this to take me. So much was said and done through the workshop that analysing all that material, breaking it down and to customise it and apply it to your daily life takes a tad bit of effort.
Acting workshops that I’ve frequented have become forums for readymade tips and pills. They didn’t let you explore and explore in a structured manner. Alok never let it get out of hand and he always had control of the situation. At the finish line self exploration through performance, movements and sounds had seemed a more involved process than performance (re)defining one’s self exploration, which can probably happen only via reflection. I’ve definitely discovered more about myself this weekend, doing the things that I did and at times, even surprising myself. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the weekend and I wish it didn’t have to end this soon.
I strongly recommend this workshop to anybody who has lost touch with their creative self and you will not be disappointed. Let go and enjoy the ride. I’m definitely doing this all over again.