Dipika describes her experiences as director of the theatre group Immortality's Flame Waves
The name 'Immortality's Flame Waves' was given to my theatre group by Sri Chinmoy, a name that I hope we are living up to.
My experiences from all the plays we have performed have ranged from sheer terror through to total satisfaction and gratitude. Not satisfaction in a way that I felt my performance had reached perfection, but in a deeper sense, beyond the physical, something that was beyond my limited control.
As a director, in the early years, (I have been directing since I was 17) I cannot express the utter lack of confidence I had. What did I know? How could I possibly be expected to direct others when I knew no more than they ,indeed, in many cases I thought, less. But as Sri Chinmoy said, "Go with your instincts" which is what I have always done, since I had no proper training in theatre. Luckily for me and more importantly for my cast, I have learnt to take this advice and year by year to trust these words of wisdom. In those early days, I tested my cast with my lack of confidence. Now however, I can say how grateful I am to all those who have helped me bring to life so many of Sri Chinmoy's plays and stories. The thrill for me is watching the process evolve. After spending at least six weeks (in-between working in a fabulous running store) writing the script from one of Sri Chinmoy's wonderful stories, I cannot express the excitement I feel the very first time I hear my cast speak the lines. Suddenly they bring the characters alive and more often than not bring in a whole new dimension to the character.
My cast. I have to pinch myself sometimes. Here we are a group of girls all wanting, dying in fact, to give the best performances that we can for the sake of the play. In the end it is not our individual performances, it is all about the whole picture. I have to admit at least fifty percent of our rehearsals involve hysterical laughter, we have a knack of amusing ourselves to a ridiculous level. But why be so serious, after all, we're actors!
So imagine the screams of excitement when Sri Chinmoy asked me to perform again for the public. After finding a fabulous theatre in London, I am now in the middle of pulling everything together. The leaflets, the mailouts, the set, the costumes, lighting, design, and O my God ~ the rehearsals. I have panic dreams that I get onto stage and realise I have done everything except learn my lines! The down side to directing and performing in the same production, but I admit, I could not sit back and see the girls have all the fun. Unfortunately or fortunately, my burning desire to be on stage is so strongly imbedded within me. Human nature is a funny thing, put me in front of twenty people and ask me to give a meditation class and I would freeze with fear and embarrassment, but give me lines and a character and I'm off.
So, its a little over a month before we 'get in' to the theatre. A lot to do, countless highs and lows to go through, but in the end it has to be a success, there is no option. We have an incredible play to share with our audience and the backing of the playwright, what more could I ask for?
Immortality's Flame Waves website.
Note - Immortality's Flame Waves performed 'Siddharta becomes the Buddha' in London in July 2005.