Work experience student, Vinhara, provides an insight into the Melbourne Talam rehearsal process.
My personal goal for my time spent at MTC was to observe rehearsals and gain an understanding of the type of professional standards the industry demands, in order to apply those skills to amateur and school productions. However, I quickly came to realise that my time at MTC would involve far more than that, and that the people I met and the expertise I was given far exceeded my expectations. What was most memorable was being surrounded by creative people who love their work, with their dedication and passion shining through in the show.
I was fortunate enough to observe the second week of rehearsals for Melbourne Talam by Rashma N. Kalsie, the 2017 Education Show for MTC. The show is based on true events and experiences of both the playwright and others in the community. It follows the interwoven stories of Sonali, Jasminder and Poornachandra; Indian nationals on different visas living in Melbourne. The play follows their struggles with fitting into the rhythm, or ‘talam’, of Melbourne. Some issues addressed in the play are very serious concerns in the community, including suicide, money struggles, family values, and racism. What stuck with me is the playwright’s use of theatre as a medium to voice her concerns for an issue she felt passionate about. I would encourage students to come and watch the play as it shows diversity in theatre, but also highlights parts of people’s everyday struggles that might go unnoticed by others. Not only this, but it provides a unique style of advocacy and shows the power of theatre.
My time spent in the rehearsal studio was filled with lots of laughs and gags. That’s not to say a little bit of Bollywood dancing and comedy was involved too! It was fascinating to watch the camaraderie between the actors and how they helped each other with choreography, dialogue and chemistry. However, it did not stop there. From the creatives who designed the costumes, set, lighting and sound, to the stage manager who ensured daily goals were met and the environment was safe to work in, without each of them, the play would not go on. I was also lucky enough to sit in on a discussion with a group of teachers who observed a rehearsal to hear what they thought about the show. For me, it was wonderful to see that the depth in which the actors delved into their characters came across in meaning and was picked up by the teachers. For someone who saw what went on behind the scenes to then hear that all the hard work was paying off was an experience in itself. It was good to know that although it might seem silly in rehearsals, it was important to enhance the play.
Though the four days slipped away like sand through fingers, the experience I gained, the friends I made and the things I learnt will not only help me with future productions, but will serve as a time of great joy. I would encourage anyone thinking of applying for a work experience position to do so, as it has been an amazing opportunity.