Paloma at home: Changing backdrops and weekend 'event hopping' in the new normal
It’s been a fairly eventful week, including a few ‘firsts’, as we continue to learn to live in the new normal. Not just survive, but actually operate. I set foot outside the confines of my house after what seemed like eons, for a ‘green screen’ or ‘Chroma’ style shoot. Welcome to the new age, where the anchor or emcee joins in from literally anywhere in the world and can be keyed in at the right time and place, with a backdrop to match.
You want ‘applause’ from a live audience? That can happen at the click of a button too. I was, of course, surrounded by a crew kitted out in safety gear, like they were the astronauts on this strange green planet and I was the alien. With all of the multiple layers and headgear, subtle cues were replaced by more drastic ones for instructions to be given and understood. Many hilarious frustrating moments ensued but I told myself we’d end up with a funny story to tell. Taking it one step further, later on in the week, on the ‘first-time’ front, I managed to pull off a downsized version of the same setup, in the comfort of my own house. My ‘home office and studio’ just got a major upgrade.
The learning experiences extended from the work front to the play front as I attempted to ‘attend’ multiple virtual events on Sunday night. While this normally would have meant rushing from one venue to the next, I was pleased at the fact that I just had to log out of one Zoom link and into the other. So I started off with ‘How to Stand Up Comedy’, a talk by Evam Standup Tamasha, featuring comedians Anu Menon (I can’t help but add aka Lola Kutty), Karthik Kumar and Praveen Kumar, in a fun discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed each of their individual takes on how to write and perform standup, relate to an audience, and at a basic level, what a ‘joke’ actually is.
I may have enjoyed it a bit too much because I ended up signing in late to my next event The Good Doctor series by The Madras Players. Now, normally this would mean slinking into the theatre after the lights go out, trying not to step on people’s feet as you find your seat. Except here, I was unceremoniously met with a message that said that the “meeting has reached it maximum number of participants”. Serves me right for not taking director Shaan Katari Libby seriously when she urged all of us to be ‘on time’. Thankfully, yet again through the magic of technology, I was able to watch it the next day via Youtube (along with the rest of the sheepish latecomers I’m sure). It was great to see Chennai’s theatre brigade take to this new format without missing a beat. Here’s to more new experiences, let’s see what this weekend brings!