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Old 22nd September 2008, 00:57   #1
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Default Ranga Shankara -- Or Why Theatre Isn't Popular in Bangalore

So I decided to go watch a play. A friend was in the cast, and it was for a good cause (read about it here), and I'm a sucker for a good cause.

The show starts at 3:30 on a lazy Sunday afternoon. My ticket has been bought well in advance, and I've left my home well on schedule. Now, bearing in mind I live on Airport Road, and the play is at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, I've left a good half an hour early. Normally this route takes me half an hour on a workday, through traffic.

Traffic is light, and I'm actually ahead of schedule. Then I get this odd feeling that my air pressure is low, and get out at a traffic signal to check it. Rear left is low, so I go to a gas station and get pressure bumped up. The attendants take their own sweet time and mess up, so I'm now fighting the clock.

I reach Ranga Shankara (RS) and park. Walk into the place and ask for my ticket, only to be told that all the doors have been locked. I check my watch, and I'm precisely 4 minutes late. The people there give me some spiel about how they don't let anyone in after the stipulated time, but I'm in no mood to listen. Their logic is something like 'If you walk in during the play, acoustics get disturbed'.

My point is very simple: I have driven 15 kilometres and blocked an evening of my time to support theatre, and a good cause, and you're turning me away (AFTER I buy a ticket) because I'm FOUR minutes late? When I buy a 2000 buck ticket for a Bryan Adams concert, he doesn't turn me away if I come 4 minutes from the end of the show. When I pay 200 bucks to watch Stallone in a movie, he lets me in even past the intermission. What's so special about theatre? I've wasted 400 bucks to be treated like an errant schoolchild who missed his bus.

And please don't feed me some crap about acoustics. How the hell do people get up to use the loo in the middle of the play, otherwise?

Then we have the artsy types who are always moaning that theatre is not popular today, and today people spend thousands on movies and nightclubs, but not on theatre. Well, artsy folk, this is why. And this is one person who will try his darndest to not support theatre anymore.

Last edited by v1p3r : 22nd September 2008 at 00:59.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 01:02   #2
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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Their logic is something like 'If you walk in during the play, acoustics get disturbed'.
Dont know about this case but legendary Chandralekha's performances also had a no interruption(entry) clause. Those who were late had to enter during the intermission. This is due to the lighting and it played a serious part in the dance performances.

The Ranga Shankara thing seems like a hoot though!
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Old 22nd September 2008, 01:03   #3
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You reached late??

Damn you!! (in my best theatre baritone)

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How the hell do people get up to use the loo in the middle of the play, otherwise?
They don't. Loos are locked. Adds to the drama.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 22nd September 2008 at 01:05.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 06:44   #4
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RS is known for its strict school type rules.
If you are late by a min after the play starts, you are not allowed.
And if by chance your phone rings in the middle of a play....another kind of drama starts there(where you are in the lead role!)

For a cause or no cause, they take there work seriously!
Regards,
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Old 22nd September 2008, 07:55   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
I reach Ranga Shankara (RS) and park. Walk into the place and ask for my ticket, only to be told that all the doors have been locked. I check my watch, and I'm precisely 4 minutes late. The people there give me some spiel about how they don't let anyone in after the stipulated time, but I'm in no mood to listen.
Akshay, they don't let in anybody late, no matter how important the person. Not even Arundathi Nag, and she is the founder of that theatre. Even loo breaks have to be taken before the show or during intermission. And mobile phones have to be turned off.

Similar rules are followed by top theatres around the world, so RS is simply following a world standard. During a live performance it can be highly irritating to the performers to have late lateefs walking up and down looking for seat numbers in the darkness.

So you are basically complaining about a theatre that strictly enforces the rules. Wish our traffic police had this much integrity in enforcing rules.

Edit: If you are comparing live theatre to movies and concerts, you were really in a wrong place.

Last edited by Samurai : 22nd September 2008 at 08:08.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 09:07   #6
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World over its the same.. Its a question of being particular about time and it is a serious distraction - we have had many a concert in KGA - the type where the artist expects a quite appreciate audience and everyone is loudly discussing what they did last night. I feel bad for artists at weddings too - it is reduced to background elevator music and more a brag factor. There are horses for courses - some artists/genre of music/theatre demand certain attention and distractions throw them off - both the artists as well as serious enthusiasts.
pritvi theatre in mumbai has similar rules as rangashankara.. some are more serious than the other - lets not dumb it down to money! Try making a presentation in the office with folks constantly picking up the cell phone or people walking in and out during your talk mid-way and tell me it is not distracting!
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Old 22nd September 2008, 09:15   #7
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Akshay, people here pay $100 for a show here by the Blue man group. They are generally refused entry and no refund if they are late. However sometimes latecomers are part of the blue man group. They are publicly flogged. The reason is not acoustics but the performers get disturbed because of these interruptions.

A few latecomers for the blue man group were publicly embarrassed. The entire show was stopped in middle. An alarm rang and the doors opened and the group walked in with the spot lights focused on them. There names were projected on the screen and they were told to raise there hands when their names were called and the announcer was telling everyone that the show was interrupted because of the following people walking in late and they requested to be let in. The group was so embarrassed when all the blue men also started pointing at them. I'm sure they will never be late for another show.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 09:15   #8
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Most theaters do not allow in latecomers, and for a good reason.
Secondly theater is, or rather was popular 4 years in blr. did things change in these years.
I used to regularly go to watch plays at that A. France and even watched a few at some other places.
Many of these plays were by lesser known theater groups and occupancy was pretty high.
And cell phones were a strict no no.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 09:20   #9
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As an actor having performed in many venues across the city, I can tell you it is most distracting and irritating to have people coming in after the performance has begun. traditionally bangalore audiences have had no concept of time and we have been forced at times to begin plays 40 minutes after the announced time of commencement. Not only is this unfair to those who have come on time or before time, it is demanding on the actors who have to remain in character and focussed all that time.

I personally am very pleased with the RS policy of locking doors once the performance begins. So whenever we do a play at RS, my word of caution to friends and family that come to watch is to be 20 minutes ahead of time.

I understand your frustration and can tell you a similar frustration exists for the performers when the show doesn't begin on time.
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Old 22nd September 2008, 09:35   #10
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I for one get irritated when late comers create noise, distract other audience during a play. Not to mention their stepping on your feet.

their attitude is like "Swalpa adjust maadi"

Its very good that RS is actually sticking to the rules without any exception. unfortunately not all the places do that.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 01:33   #11
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Look guys, I'm not in favour of people sauntering about at any time, or cellphones going off inside auditoriums. I have the choicest insults for such people in movies. But I think it's a bit ridiculous to turn someone away after a 30 km roundtrip because he is 4 minutes late, that too after he has conveniently bought a ticket. I understand I should have been on time, but I think it's a bit rich to say the doors are locked, and the bloody 'acoustics will be disturbed'. And then, people who moan about the death of theatre will get no sympathy from me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
So you are basically complaining about a theatre that strictly enforces the rules.
First off, I had no idea they have this rule. My ticket was bought in advance, and no such warning was given. Though I do understand that one should not be necessary, because people should normally arrive on time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
Edit: If you are comparing live theatre to movies and concerts, you were really in a wrong place.
I don't think so. I often read about theatrepersons bemoaning the lack of interest in theatre in BLR, and how today people are content to spend thousands of rupees and entire days in malls and multiplexes, but cannot be bothered to spend an afternoon and a tenth the money for the performing arts. Now we know why.

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Originally Posted by rangaraj View Post
lets not dumb it down to money!
I'm not 'dumbing it down' to money. I don't earn a lot of money, so every little bit is precious to me. I chose to spend it for a good cause, only to be treated like dirt. Added to which, an afternoon of my time was wasted, and as the hoary cliche goes, time is money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rangaraj
Try making a presentation in the office with folks constantly picking up the cell phone or people walking in and out during your talk mid-way and tell me it is not distracting!
The fundamental difference here is that your colleagues are not PAYING to be in the room while your presentation is being made. Quite the opposite -- they are being paid. And do you work in the sort of organisation that does not allow you to exit a meeting if your upset stomach suddenly acts up?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:01   #12
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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
First off, I had no idea they have this rule. My ticket was bought in advance, and no such warning was given. Though I do understand that one should not be necessary, because people should normally arrive on time.

I don't think so. I often read about theatrepersons bemoaning the lack of interest in theatre in BLR, and how today people are content to spend thousands of rupees and entire days in malls and multiplexes, but cannot be bothered to spend an afternoon and a tenth the money for the performing arts. Now we know why.
Akshay, as a theatreperson I give you these responses:

(1) RS rules mandate that all tickets carry certain basic rules, one of them being that the play will begin at 0730 sharp and the doors will be locked at 0730. If your ticket does not carry this warning, then the organizers are to blame.

(2) As an actor I can tell you it is very frustrating and distracting to have people walk in after the play has begun. It isn't as if they can be air-dropped into their seats and seeing that movement from the corner of my eye while on stage is very irritating. I have experienced this first-hand, at Chowdaiah, Alliance, Seva sadan, and ravindra kalakshetra.

(3) As audience, I would hate to be kept waiting because someone took the decision to wait 15 minutes longer to start, only to allow late-comers to get in. That is disrespect to my time. My immediate question is why I bother to be on time when someone who walks in 10 minutes late is not penalized for that lack of discipline?

(4) The death of theatre is not for starting shows on time, but because sponsorship is not forthcoming. Theatre is not as publicly visible as a sports event or music shows and hence corproates shy away from it. The ones that do get sponsorship (never in full) have to give away a bulk of their tickets to the sponsors, who invariably give them out to their friends/dealer/vendors/etc., and most of those people never show up. I have seen this pattern repeat itself many times over. The other reason for the lack of a vibrant theatre scene is the lack of professionalism in the structure. It is impossible to make a living from theatre and talented actors/technicians are forced to look beyond theatre for a living. This means the quality of shows that go on is mediocre and that can again be attributed to a lack of funding. It is a vicious circle.

(5) You may have been 4 minutes late and feel entitled to be allowed in. However, it isn't the precise amount of time that you have been late by that is in question, it is the principle of the matter. Once an exception is made, where do you draw the line. at 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes? The same argument will repeat itself, the person who is 6 minutes late will ask to be let in because he/she is only 1 minute late but is actually 6 minutes late. Which is why the rule exists and is enforced ruthlessly.

(6) A majority of theatre artists, groups, directors, technicians favour the rule and advise friends and family coming to watch a play at RS to plan to be there at least 10 minutes early.

I appreciate you having paid for the ticket and bought it in advance. In that respect you are a lot better than many many people I know. However, the rule is needed, harsh as it may seem to someone in your circumstance on that day.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:19   #13
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Kartik, I understand your POV fully well. I'm (merely?) upset that my time and money were wasted. As a result, in the near future, I see no reason why I should choose to invest either of them in theatre, as opposed to a movie, or any other form of recreation that vies for my custom. I'm sure this will be of no big loss to the art, but hey, we all do our little bit, don't we?

Whether the rule is needed, I'm not too sure of. And I cannot begin to comprehend the arrogance of someone who will not allow you to use the bathroom when you wish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kartikkumar
(4) The death of theatre is not for starting shows on time, but because sponsorship is not forthcoming. Theatre is not as publicly visible as a sports event or music shows and hence corproates shy away from it.
If you host an event, you have to make sure it is accessible to your target audience, and it is not highly inconvenient for them to attend. The play in question is normally staged at 10.30 am and 7.30 pm. Barring a Sunday, neither time is convenient for 90% of the people who work Mon-Sat in BLR, more so since the venue is in JP Nagar, a good hour's drive from anywhere except Jayanagar, BTM, K'mangala, and Basavanagudi. I don't follow the theatre scene in Bangalore, but if this is an average play, I can understand how auditoriums are half-empty.

I neglected to mention this: I had come to watch the same show a few days earlier, this time in the morning. Overbudgeting for morning rush-hour traffic, I reached half an hour early. The play, on the other hand, started a few minutes late. Did I get a refund?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 05:07   #14
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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Kartik, I understand your POV fully well. I'm (merely?) upset that my time and money were wasted. As a result, in the near future, I see no reason why I should choose to invest either of them in theatre, as opposed to a movie, or any other form of recreation that vies for my custom. I'm sure this will be of no big loss to the art, but hey, we all do our little bit, don't we?
As long as one can get you to come for one of our shows (whenever that happens) that's fine. Rest assured, tickets will be taken care of. All you need to do is show up.

Whether the rule is needed, I'm not too sure of. And I cannot begin to comprehend the arrogance of someone who will not allow you to use the bathroom when you wish.


Quote:
Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
If you host an event, you have to make sure it is accessible to your target audience, and it is not highly inconvenient for them to attend. The play in question is normally staged at 10.30 am and 7.30 pm. Barring a Sunday, neither time is convenient for 90% of the people who work Mon-Sat in BLR, more so since the venue is in JP Nagar, a good hour's drive from anywhere except Jayanagar, BTM, K'mangala, and Basavanagudi. I don't follow the theatre scene in Bangalore, but if this is an average play, I can understand how auditoriums are half-empty.
Like I said, RS apart, I have witnessed Chowdiah being nearly empty only because the people who were given passes by the sponsor thought it unnecessary to show up. And shows at Chowdiah never begin on time or for that matter within 15 minutes of the advertised time of commencement!!!!

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I neglected to mention this: I had come to watch the same show a few days earlier, this time in the morning. Overbudgeting for morning rush-hour traffic, I reached half an hour early. The play, on the other hand, started a few minutes late. Did I get a refund?
Why are you watching the same show twice any way?? And next time you come to RS do call upon us who live in the vicinity.

Cheers!
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Old 23rd September 2008, 09:41   #15
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How the hell do people get up to use the loo in the middle of the play, otherwise?
They don't. The theatre people gives them used soft drink bottles (1.5 litre ones)...so that the play doesn't get disturbed.

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