Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Why Don't You Get a Real Job?

My first day at Call Cutta yesterday; turns out, it'll be my only one for the next two weeks. It went off well enough, and I'm wondering what the final script will turn out to be like.

Perhaps I should describe what the project is all about, first, and go on from there. Ok, say you're coming for a show. So you buy a ticket for say, the 4 p.m. show on Saturday. You go to the theatre at 3.45 and by 4 you have been fitted out with a phone (perhaps with a handsfree attached). You've been seated in a specific chair inside a room and asked to wait for your call.

At 4 p.m. you receive a call from one of us actors, and your show begins.

Now, in the first phase, we would introduce ourselves, confirm your identity and start guiding you out of the place you're in. You'd be given precise instructions, have landmarks described to you and told to note certain objects/writing/people/places as you walked. You'd walk down streets, alleys, in and out of houses, ruined theatres and abandoned railway stations and all the while, we'd be spinning a tale. We would tell you about ourselves, and ask about you. We would connect, over things we share and things we don't. It's, incidentally, amazing how much you can have in common halfway across the world.

You know you're talking to an actor in the guise of a call centre worker and some of the stuff I say may be utterly outrageous, but the connection we're building allows us both to laugh over the outrageousness of it all. And if you're a player, you play along and do some acting of your own.

At the end you and I would 'meet', over a video streamed over the internet. Whatever the walk itself has been like, the meeting is invariably a little exciting.

This is how we did it in 2005. First we did it for a couple of months here in Cal (the walks were in an area called Hatibagan in north Calcutta) and then we did it in Berlin.

In the second phase, which is what we're working on now, the Riminis added a twist. (They are the creator-directors of Call Cutta, among other, equally intriguing, psycho-theatrical projects.) They decided to work on the same idea, except that you, the audience, never leave the room. You stay in it for the 50 minutes that the show runs, and you do stuff within the room.

That's about all I'm going to say about it now, because I don't want to spoil the suspense. But yeah, if you're in any of the cities where we perform this year, you should definitely catch a show. I think we're performing in Mannheim, Paris, Zurich, Copenhagen and a few other places I cannot remember right now.

To me, it's a fun job. I can leave when bored and it doesn't reflect badly on my CV; I get paid pretty well although I'll admit that the work can get quite stressful (imagine doing 3 shows almost back to back each night); the hours are flexible (I only work when I can); and it's very interesting.

I bet it beats your nine-to-fiver.


D said...

And this is work?! It's the most non-work kind of work I've ever heard about. Because it sounds so much fun. And I'm sad, because I don't live in Paris, Copenhagen or Calcutta :(

Itchingtowrite said...

u bet it beats us hollow! wud lov to catch one
do it in chennai

artnavy said...

i want to play too- when R u bringing it to chennai??

dipali said...

What about us Kolkata residents? A show, I mean.

Moppet's Mom said...

What fun! Really sounds cool - and exciting for the actors as well, because each show is so different.

the mad momma said...

where are the good jobs when i am looking? really sue.. i hate you.

jayashri said...

Sue, Are you performing in NY? Pls pls pls say yes. I will definetly come to see your shouw then.

And yes your job is much more exciting than the 9 to 5 job

dipali said...


jayashri said...


Rohini said...

I feel boring...

Grafxgurl said...

do one in Nashville!!! i love plays!! we go all the time and since im scot free , bring on the entertainment!!

Sue said...

D -- Well, if you want to act, you'd have to live in Cal. But yeah, you can catch a show at any of the nine odd European sites.

ITW, Art -- Sorry, I got nothing to do with choice of locations. I think they'd be happy to do it anywhere if they were invited. The directors I mean. So talk about it, see if you can generate some buzz. Ask your local MMB. :)

Dipali -- I think there may eventually be a show in Cal towards the end of the year. Nothing fixed as of yet, though.

Moppet's Mom -- That's why I like it -- takes you some time to get bored of it, because you aren't really doing the same thing all the time.

MM -- You couldn't do this one. You don't have the time, believe me. :) I can only do it because V stays home half days.

Jaya -- I vaguely remember talk of NY shows but I think that fell through. Sorry!

Dipali, Jaya -- Darn. No more list tags after this one, I swear. Dipali, I guess I oughtn't mess with a Scorpio, huh? This smacks of revenge for sure!

Rohini -- Hey, I only get to talk to folks outside India. You go and meet them. But yeah, if I give you a complex I'm sure not taking it back!

Grafx -- I don't think we're performing anywhere in the US. At least, nothing planned so far. It's an easy show to trasnport though, just needs a room and props.

Amrita said...

Wow! this is unique and sounds exciting. You say its easy enough to transport eh. Any chance of bringing it Australia side - if so I can ask around to generate some interest!

Tithi said...

is that what you call work? beats any 9-to-5er any day! more so mine! you have fun, sweets! how's the bhablet coping up?

~nm said...

Hey..it sounds pretty interesting. Is there a website I can go and check out more details? Coming to Delhi anytime soon?

Y said...

show-offer! :-)

david mcmahon said...

Hi Su,

Sounds like fun to me. Next time I'm in Calcutta I'll try it out!

By the way, sorry this is off-post, but I don't have your email address - you might enjoy my G Is For Grand Trunk Road post, especially as you know the other person in the story!



Suki said...

Wow, wow, post on the blog when there's a show in Kolkata!

And how's plans for our blogmeet? :)

Poppins said...

You bet it does, does it feel nice to rub it in?

Sue - how'd you get into theatre? Care to do a post on that?

Sue said...

Amrita -- I suggest you send a mail to the Riminis. They are always open to offers and love travelling.

Tithi -- Don't you talk, babe! You're the one junketing around...

NM -- I imagine there will be a website. Was one the last time. There are articles and stuff floating around online. Their own website is in German, if you can follow it.

Y -- Guilty, m'lady.

David -- Shows are in Europe. Just that we perform from Calcutta. Story sounds interesting, but I couldn't get Google Books to load. Will try later or catch you or Pat!

Suki -- No idea about a Cal show yet. Blogmeet was cancelled because of your birthday lunch, no? I was planning it the day before but it didn't make sense one right after the other so I thought bloggers can always meet another day.

Sunita -- Oh it feels great to show off this one rare time. :) I guess a could do a post but I'm not sure there's much to tell.