Monday, 25 May 2009

To be at the center-stage and ALONE

I have a question ----

How does it feel to stand at the center of the stage...alone...the mike in your hand, your voice piercing through the sheer silence of the auditorium, every pair of eyes transfixed at you, if not to admire or admonish, to check out the source of that booming voice, and all the while weighed down by the pressure of the need to humour, to entertain?

I am all ears for a first timer's experience (and almost sure it'd match mine) so that I know I'm not the only phattu around. Here's what I went through:

I was barely awake, after the Friday night's hangover (from sleeping at 4am after a get together at P's), when R.G. called. After this and that, he came to the point at once:

"The lady who was supposed to anchor today's Bihu function has cancelled out at the last moment. Would you phuleez do it?"
"Jeeez, I'll pee in my pants. I've always been in-a-group, on the stage"
"Arrey, it's easy, you just have to read out the script and there's always a first time. Now come on"
"Umm, can I call you back?"
What a proposition to jolt you out of a perfect Saturday morning snooze. But instead of cursing him for the temptation, and screwing the first morn of my precious weekend, I was thrilled, surprizingly. Ran for dear D.
"You want to do it?"
"Yes, but I aint confident."
"Do you know Frankie?" (Rocky Balboa this time and could I have missed that pounding effect?)
"Frankie who?"
"Frankie Fear. He's your friend and you need not be ashamed of him. He keeps you sharp. You fear because you want to give in your best. Which is good. Just keep Frankie Fear in your control. Don't let it overcome you."
"Feels better already." (Grinning wide)
"There's another way of looking at it. Imagine your audience is dumbass and you're the best. But then you might get careless."
"Franky Fear is better"
"'ll do it", I sms'ed R.G. (Later, it took time to believe I said that)

Unlike the mukali Bihu (usually held in a field, a shade on top, a stage and remains unbounded from the three sides), this time it was a huge amphitheater-like auditorium.
"D., there's a high probability of my succumbing to do the runaway act just in case, please be around and keep the keys handy".
"Don't worry, you'll do it." (But Jiski ph***i hai, usi ko pata hota hai)
The first time I heard my own voice on the microphone, tell you man, I was startled. It was like waking up to a nightmare -- I was "there, doing that" and there was no turning back. Coming to terms with the consciousness of eyes roving all over me, getting used to the many flashlights that made my cheeks burn, feeling the sweat roll down my nape, all in the May heat, in that jazzy silk mekhela-sador - it was everything but easy. I took time to get used to that voice - my voice supposedly, bellowing in the auditorium. In front of me was Hyderabad's Assamese community. Every sixth face was familiar and I could see that let's-see-how-you-do-it look written on each.
The script was unbelievably crappish and in between the show I tried to make as much amends as I could. Okay, I did not do a great job. I did not get them applauding aloud with my wit and humour nor tittilate them enough to leave their seats and run for the stage to join the Bihu dancers. But no chappals came (recession time or politeness I could not tell), no jeering comments heard (at least not where I stood - on the stage).
And I did not run...away.
I did it! :)


T-REX said...

This is exactly what happens, you cant really say no, because deep down its an insult to your non phattu nature, so you take up the opportunity, and when the time comes and you say hello, your own voice feels like molten lead in your ears. You suddenly remember the shitty haircut you got just yesterday,the coffee stain on your pants, and the sinking feeling that you have forgotten your lines. Then the mike conviniently stops working and people get a chance to have a hearty laugh at your plight, when you speak again your voice is either an ugly boom or a pathetic squeak. Well you never do an Obama the first time you speak, never.

Ms Taggart said...

Oh.. you did great in that case!
The first ever time I got onto stage to host was for my office annual party, and though we had been rehearsing for ages, the minute I saw the 1000+ crowd there, I freaked out.
And then I had to wear these lousy extravagant clothes too. The minute I entered the stage, I was ready to run, and had a friend nearby to take care of the running part, and of course my falling apart dress! The light was blinding, and I had no idea about the sound the mic would create, so I spoke louder than ever.
I thought I did a great job, but a few ppl walked up to me and said their ears are still ringing with my voice.. :) .. In short, I made a fool of myself, but there were some good comments too..

After that, every time I did that, I remember being scared, but I started talking in a slower tone into the mic.. and felt good after the program. So I think its but natural that one feels phattu!

Ann Dee said...

@ T-Rex
You got it boy..But I guess you read the half-done one (I was actually trying this new Read More feature on my blog and before I could post the entire stuff, there was a power-cut that seemed to last forever and ever)..
Thankfully I escaped brickbats - gender benefits, I'm sure.. :( It at least got me a reason to blog, if nothing else.. :)

@ Ms. Taggart
You were loud and I had to be reminded to keep the mouthpiece closer to my mouth. In fact, on second chappals could be because the audience barely heard me. :O
Chalo I at least know two more like me. Here's to surviving phattupanti! (being frm the North East, I'm a lil' raw in Hindi, if you noticed)

Ann Dee said...
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