mind adventures

an experimental theatre company set up in sri lanka in 1999.

of thievery and thoththa babas

one of the issues that indi, jehan and i face as the organisers of  ‘open mic’ is trying to find us a home. so far we have not been able to find a suitably chilled out place, and as you know we’ve been traipsing around like gypsies from one venue to another. however, until we sort it out, we will have to rely on the kindness of our friends to provide pretty much everything – be it the venue, sound, food or booze. bless you all.

last week,  two of my family opened their doors to all of you who came. and i’m not using ‘family’ in the sense of close personal friends, i mean my actual family.  i found out today that two very expensive unopened bottles of alcohol were stolen from their house that night. that is generally not how people in civilised society thank their hosts for their kind hospitality. it is however, a pretty good way of saying ‘fuck you, you trusting suckers”.

at one point in the evening, the whackster read out a review some guy had published, of the previous open mic. unfortunately i can’t remember the name of the guy who wrote the article – his name was meece or neece or something like that. he made a couple of good points, but the rest was rather precious.

the main thing meece/neece said was that it looked like a bunch of people who all knew each other had decided to get together and read out their stuff to each other, and pat each other on the back. this has now obviously been disproved because as far as i know –

friends do not steal from each other

friends do not abuse the trust of their hosts

friends do not break faith with people like us, who are simply trying to create a space for artistic people to meet, exchange ideas and inspire each other.

whoever you are – i hope you choke on every sip of that black label. i hope the bacardi makes you puke your guts out. pray that i never find out who you are.

now back to mr.meece’s comments –

he said that people were not quiet when some of the participants were reading their stuff. now meece himself admits that some of the pieces were boring. he looked at it from his point of view. he says he suffers from stage fright, that his voice would have broken and that he would have been shaking. he says that if it had been his first time on open mic, he would have felt humiliated if no one had listened. he took a crack at indi, saying the very people who were talking about world peace could not be bothered to sit still and listen to everyone who spoke that night.

well listen here dude – open mic is not theatre. the audience is not obliged to shut up and listen. in fact, at every session i always state that heckling is encouraged. we even have our resident ‘simon’ who has been given license to vent.

name one open mic event – anywhere in the world – where an entire audience is always quiet and listens to each speaker with equal attention. an open mic is usually held in a bar or nightclub. it is meant to be a loud, lively, irreverent affair.

yes, we are here to encourage new voices. yes, we would like to have new people coming all the time. yes, we would love you to come back. but do not expect us to hold your hand and tell you that you’re fabulous, if that is not the truth.

if you’ve got something worth saying, and you say it well, people will listen.

case study: st.fallen

st.fallen looks about 12 but is probably about 16. he turned up at the first open mic with a poem and a box of matches. he was nervous as hell, looked really pale. his hand shook like a leaf, his voice shook and cracked right through the entire poem. but people listened. because he was damned good. because there was a maturity and complexity of thought in his poetry that far belied his years.  and beyond that – what he said made sense to all of us, which is why we shut up and listened.

you have to win your audience. you have to work for it. if you’re good, they will let you know. and if you’re really serious about your art – you will keep trying, not crying.

no one’s gonna hand it to you on a silver platter.

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13 Comments»

  Sanjana Hattotuwa wrote @

Why we lost the first venue would is a telling story of the pervasive nature of anxiety in our society. It could also be quite an instructive study in hypocrisy.

  daytripper wrote @

actually, we never meant the first venue to be our permanent home – its too high profile. i personally feel we would have got a lot of cracks about ‘colombo 7’ hypocrisy. i was keen not to have it there again. but you’re right about the anxiety.

  aasvogel wrote @

Well said Tracy!

It is phenomenally dispiriting that there were people who when invited into the HOME and sanctuary of the H’s, given food, drink, the run of the house and most of all, given TRUST, that ever dwindling currency, would return it with such a callous ‘fuck you’.

If any inference of your personality can be made, your casual ability to steal from those who would trust you unreservedly, unconditionally, who would not lock a single door; who would treat you as they would their own family is such an obvious state of mindfuck that I say with certainty and without hyperbole: you’ve already robbed from your parents, you sad little sociopath. Drink deeply of what you stole, you’ll need a lot more of it to sustain you.

As for St. Fallen, my respect. He immediately distanced himself from any nauseating adolescent poetry and seriously got my attention, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for his future. performances.

Tracy, can we compensate the H’s?
Harean

  daytripper wrote @

no dude, compensation is not required. its the principle of the thing, innit.

  TheWhackster wrote @

this sucks. Stuff like this is going to spoil the whole thing. i have no idea if those bottles can be tracked down or if anyone has any idea as to who may have done it..

im sorry your relatives had to go through this. and im sorry you and the other organizers had to go through it. and we as participants.

Kudos on your appreciation of st. fallen, i think he is a brilliant poet and his thinking is deep for someone of his age, sure.

The review was written by meese http://specialgrass.blogspot.com/2009/03/open-mic-to-go-again-or-not-to-go.html

it made me think and thats why i read it out. i think diverse views from all corners need to be encouraged cos there’s no point pussyfooting around afraid of offending anyone. and it seems meese’s comments made you think a bit as well.

And i agree, a person should win the audience not the other way around. and i also believe that members of the audience should show due respect to anyone going up and reading things out. see even hecklers listen! and heckling is great cos you get heckled for the stuff ur reading out.. meaning someone actually dissents ur opinion, which is a compliment.

in fact, i suggest passing the mike around next time for a bit (when it comes around), take a break from the ‘stage’, just to see what happens with the change in effect.. cheers and for what its worth.. im sure there are a lot of people out there who are happy u started this. including me.

  daytripper wrote @

sure whackster, we’ll definitely do that. funny that you should mention it, ‘cos that’s something that was suggested to us anyway. so there will be a break at the next one. we’ll pass the mic around and see what happens…

and yes, meese had some good points, which is why i didn’t dis him – i just laid out the whole scene for him as we see it. i am wholly against mollycoddling and jollying people along though. it’s like the whole spoon-feeding element of our education system. it leads to unrealistic expectations and the assumption that you are owed something by society – whether it be a safe govt job with a secure pension, or getting through an open night without getting heckled or being ignored. you have to earn respect, i guess is the point i’m trying to make.

  meese wrote @

errmm.. who is thoththa baba here? is it me? 🙂

A few corrections, if i remember right indi wasn’t the only one who was talking about unity and saving the country and my post was not was no shot at him. It was not any one person, if you read it, you’d see that I was saying its great that you’ve started it something like it.

I cant name one open mic event where there will not be any heckling, because i haven’t been to any except this. I also believe that just because there aren’t, doesn’t mean its right. Thats like saying, because pretty much everyone in the SL government is corrupt its right. isnt it?

There was no expectation for hand holding… but you gotta “listen” to be able to comment, thats what i think.

You could, if you wish to break down what i am saying and not see the truth in it, that is your prerogative as the organizer of it.

“if you’ve got something worth saying, and you say it well, people will listen”

I’m not sure if the dude singing about menstrual cycles had anything worth saying, except that he is glad he is a man..Maybe he said it well enough, It in my opinion though was just light humour but its just my opinion maybe you thought more if it.

Maybe I was confused and was expecting more, I made my observations, if you as organizers think it makes sense, like to evolve and improve, its upto you.

My understanding of what you’re saying here is that this is a professional stage if you dont attract the audience its on you.

I was expecting a progressive environment where everyone would be respected and then encouraged or discouraged.

I couldn’t make it to the last open mic which i was really wanting to go for.. but if this might be the attitude that is carried forward i’m not sure i’d want to come for the rest.

anyway its my opinion.. thats about all..

  indi.ca » Borella Open Mic (Videos) wrote @

[…] it in a house. We are wandering a bit like diaspora Jews but that has its own value as well. Please try to behave, however. The first video was a criticism of Open Mic, which is worth listening […]

  Dee wrote @

Oh no 😦 bad scene. Let’s just scout around for some places and see where it takes us.

  indi wrote @

I got a bottle of Black Label from an anonymous donor. Can get another one through duty-free. Of course, not the point.

As I’ve mentioned I agree with a lot of the comments, except this one:

The point of this is that i think this community is just another bias group who think they are liberal and open minded but they are just as closed up as the rest of them

I honestly know about 4 confirmed performers before the thing goes on. Also, more to the point, in the face of the huge apathy and inaction in Colombo I think we are entirely different. We’re actually putting ourselves out there, and leaving a ladder for anyone else to follow. You’re welcome to come.

  daytripper wrote @

meese, don’t take my comments so personally. i was using you as an example, just as i used st.fallen. i have already acknowledged that you had some good points. and i know you’re saying its a good thing we started it. and i haven’t misinterpreted anything, except the indi thing.

but i do stand by the fact that people can talk. and that you as a performer have to make them listen. you have to make yourself heard. you have to think about what you’re saying and how you want to say it.

i’m a performer – have been for many years. one thing i do know very well, is that you have to make contact with your audience. most people just come and read off bits of paper or off their phones without ever looking up even once to see if the audience is watching. you will not hold your audience that way.

what is your understanding of ‘a progressive environment’? mine is that it is a place where any subject can be approached. and we have had everything discussed – from god, to politics, to sex and songs about sanitary pads and homosexuals.

you say you might not come again because what? i’m dishing out some tough love? i don’t sit there and laugh at people. i listen to everyone, i judge which is the best time to send people on – think that’s random? it’s not. i adjust their mics, i tell them to speak louder or slower. that is my attitude – which you seem to think is too harsh?

no, i don’t think i have given the impression that there is anything ‘professional’ about this.i just want people to raise their game, think about the best way to get their message across. there are some very talented people who come. but having talent is not enough, you have to develop it, and i’ve mentioned a few things which i think people need to work on.

and if that is the reason why you feel you won’t come any more, or read out any of your stuff, then yes, perhaps maybe possibly there is no real certainity don’t quote me there is no evidence that you might indeed be a thoththa baba.

  Sigma Delta wrote @

I’ve been an ardent and active participant of Open Mic, albeit from a distance – via the blogs

I think you guys are doing a wonderful thing and I admire the talent that has been drawn into this forum. DO please keep it up cos I certainly will be making a bee line there no sooner I hit the city!


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