Pooja’s Reflections

Reflection on exchange of role

This exercise required us to be a part of the market. Each of us had to pick the role of a person and be the same for a couple of hours. I choose to exchange places with a old woman’s daughter.

In terms of preparing for the exercise i had to think of how to make myself merge into the crowd. In general look for old clothes or that which goes with the flower market surrounding. Also, before entering the market space I had to get into the mood of selling goods in relation to the surrounding which helped in being more fluent with the activity.

Once the activity started the neighbouring shopkeepers were pretty curious about a new member in the market. This tells me that they are all familiar with, which space belongs to whom.
Some of the other vendors came upto to the lady who let me sit with her and said, “do not let her sit with you this way, she will use you and then leave”. To this the lady gave a very bland response, in the sense she was almost like how does it matter , if my letting her sit with me is helping her then its good thing that i am doing it and she was convinced that i could cause no harm.
To this i felt like i was invading their space because some of the vendors cleary did not like my presence as opposed to others who were asking the lady if i was her own daughter or some other person. I was really suprised when she said, it is ok if she is using me because in a more general sense nobody would like to be used.

Another issue was that of trust, after a while she left the stock for me to handle and she was confident that i would not do any wrong.Maybe she was willing to take this risk hoping that my presence would arouse curiosity and attract more customers.
The issue of trust comes up once again when this guy from a restuarant comes to take orders for their breakfast and takes money from them before actually giving them food. The person who takes orders is also not the same everyday but yet, she gives him the money for the food and believes for sure that he will come back with the food.
Here we see that the situation is very similar to that of an office in terms of functioning of the market. Yet, it is different in terms of surrounding and activity. But, at the same time you see similarities in function of different classes of society.

At the end of the day, she offered me fruits and along with the fruits she gave me one hundred rupees saying “keep it, this is for you” and when i refused to accept it she tried forcing me into taking. Finally, i did not accept it, i said i am grateful foe the fruits, thank you.
When she gave me the fruits during and at the end of the activity i felt a bit guilty because i thought i was firstly, using her space for my own needs and over that i felt like i was reducing her sales by accpeting the fruit at no cost.

Before observing the issue of trust at the market i would usually think that they would be guarding their sources of income more than us and that they would be more protective of their stock and money.But on the contrary, they are more giving in nature than any of us would be. Even though every penny counts and means much more to them they are still willing to share whatever little they have with them.I was quite overwhelmed with this benevolent nature of hers.

Lata Mani’s reading

After a numerous amount of debating, something that has stayed with me is the “appearance of choices”. What exactly are choices, do they actually exist and if yes, to what extent ? These questions kept my attention. The fact that choices are not “real” and that every so called “choice” today has the same destination. For example, each individual may buy a different model of car but they all have to ultimately halt the car in the parking space which is the same for any kind of car.

What also interested me was how you can see different views in terms of the mind, body and soul. It seemed to me like they worked as different levels of consciousness for us and help and see and feel different individually.

The method of constantly questioning one self’s every step i think will help us increase awareness of our thoughts to a level more. I think it will help us also with our projects now and in the future and find more reason for everything we do. This will possibly help us is noticing and looking at things which we otherwise would not notice or consider trivial when it is probably not.

The discussion was very thought provoking and really helpful to all of us at the end of the day.

Theatre with Deepak Srinivasan

What i really liked about the workshop was that it really made me things which i usually would not have volunteered for. Usually, i would not want to participate in theatrical activities because i was always worried about how i could face so many people looking at me.

But, after this workshop i found myself not minding much about how i came off or what others would think about to a large extent.

It was really interesting to work with the flower vendors and perform both for them and with them. Initially, it was very difficult to get them involve in the activity but eventually quite successful. As soon as we started to get responses we were more confident of our activity and also were encouraged further. It was very nice to see that some of them came up with interesting stuff and to see how each one had their own likes or dislikes for the market which they wanted to portray.

Another exercise which could help even for the future would be that of doing an impromptu. I think this would help us with our reflexes and to think quick. Also, it helped as a tool to look at things with a different view and get different responses in terms of performance.

Overall, it helped me change my view regarding my participation in theatre.

Reading with Dr. Jyoti

“The world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed”
This is a quote i came across relating to our discussion in class with Dr.Jyoti. It was really interesting to know, how all of us are constantly performing unaware of the act. And she talks about performance in everything we do in our day to day lives and not just performance in the form of theatre. This particular quote helps me to further understand how theatre as a form is usually rehearsed or done out of practice whereas, our performance in day to day life is unrehearsed where we never know the end of the performance while we are at it. In all, providing us with a different perspective as to what performance is about.

Invisibility

The exercise of being a vendor and merging with the market space relates to the concept of performance as a research methodology as it helped me to learn how the market functions to a certain extent and provided me with a different perspective into the market space. It helped me to understand the people better than i would have otherwise understood and also get them to be more comfortable in having to converse with them and vice versa.
Clearly my body was acting as a site of discourse because it was body which helped me to come across to the other marketeers as one amongst them and helped me belong to the space whereas in my head there was still a distinction between then and me. It was important for me to change the behavior of my body rather than my mind in order to convince them of my belonging to their space as just thinking of being in their space in my head would not have convinced then that i belong there. This clearly brings about a difference between my body and my mind and how both can help communicate differently. It also comes to say how an ‘action without thought is barely anything’.
My relationship with the vendor was based on both trust and honesty. At the end of the day she was willing to give me fruits and also some cash so i could have lunch. But i still felt the need to either give her something in return or talk to her and share with as to what i gained regarding the exercise. Also, being a part of them in terms of dressing like them, sitting with them, behaving like them and being honest helped me to gain her trust.

Switchboard

This exercise was done by us mainly because we felt the need to give back something to the people from the market and from that we learnt that giving back could also be in the form of sharing something. By doing this it felt like we gave them belief as to how they were a part of our work and they could take back with them an experience of what we shared with them with us not always having to be the only ones at the receiving end. Personally, for me the need to give back arises from the previous exercise where one of the men in the market asks the lady i was working with, ” What are you going to gain by letting her sit next to you ?”.
After we shared the images with the people we had some silhouettes of the people from the market projected on the screen and the audience had to respond to these projections by forming a complete picture with the image on screen with the help of their body. Here we see the body acting as a site of discourse by completing the image with the help of the body and conveying something. Through this we could see how each individual responded to the image on screen relating to performance as a research methodology.

Sculpting Exercise

For this exercise, the audience were supposed to use body to create a photograph by sculpting people. The people were supposed to portray what they liked or disliked about the market. This helped us in knowing their view point regarding the space. Some of them portrayed events that had already occurred while the others clearly showed us their feelings through this. They used body to communicate feelings, whether it was to show someone who was drunk or another who was beating up a third person. They conveyed all this by using us like clay and by changing our posture and expression helping us know how each individual shows us the same thing through different actions. Hence, performance being a research methodology and body as a site of discourse.
The concept of ethics is negotiating relationships also comes into place with the help of this exercise as it helped the people in getting comfortable with us and also letting them share their thought about the space.

12 hours

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What was really nice was that each of us were in completely different
places and since for some of the exercises we had to make up stories,
each of us came up with really different excuses. This leading to each
of having a very different experience. Amongst the class it also
mattered at what time of the day each of did the activities as it lead
to different reactions from public.
I think being idle is not really appreciated in public as it makes one
wonder what the real motive of the idle person is. It would be looked
upon in a negative sense. I think this is because all of us to some
extent do a particular thing only with reason. So when you tell
someone i am here sitting idle for “time pass” they usually would not
want to believe it because one usually expects reason for any doing.
It was nice to see how we came up with different activities and how we
were trying to challenge ourselves by doing things differently in
terms of starting a conversation. Also, another thing i noticed for
myself is that its easy to talk to strangers when you are forced to
and not otherwise in general. When we take the step to talk its more
about us being confident and the stranger being taken aback whereas
when a person approaches us we would think of a million things before
agreeing to have a conversation. How is it that these people trust us,
maybe because of the language i spoke in but is that enough reason for
one to trust us in is what i can still think about ?
Another question that remains in my head to figure out would be what
is it that makes a place unsafe to us? when do we start getting
uncomfortable ? Am i afraid of the darkness of an unknown place due to
fear of the unseen or unknown ?

Smile Exercise

What does it mean to go and smile at people around us ? How is the smile perceived each time and in different places ?
While smiling today the one thing i realized was that we smile very rare on a regular basis and also that the world would be a better place if people smiled more often at each other.
It was interesting how most people looked away specially the women while the men seemed more curious as to why we were smiling at everybody. Some of them at first acknowledged the smile, but, when smiled at again did not seem to like it as they seemed to have thought of us being up to something. Also, it was more accepted by people if we smiled at them individually whereas if there were too many of us smiling at them then they simply wondered why and looked away or walked away. All this comes back once again to the point where we see in human nature, that everybody at all times is looking for reason. Why is it that we have to have a reason for everything we do ?
Some people also followed a few of us and that has to do with a higher degree of curiosity aroused within them, which is only because of us repetitively smiling at them. What we could see was that a first smile would usually be taken casually and there after people looked for reasons as to why were smiling.
Personally i think it is very important as to what kind of smile you are letting out and also the number of times you smile at a person within a given time span.

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