Work Exposure Programme is our summer internship initiative at Ekya and sister institution CMR National Public School, to help senior school students groom their problem-solving skills, adaptability, emotional intelligence, resilience and the ability to collaborate. With the WEP drawing to a close, we sit with Rajkaushik Ramkumar of Grade 11 from Ekya School ITPL, as he shares his account from his internship at The Actors Collective.

What was going on your mind while applying for the WEP? Why did you choose The Actors Collective?

I was comfortable with the application process – simple and to the point; the questions asked were direct and easy to answer. What I liked about the whole thing was the choices we had with our internships; each company was well defined and had objectives that helped me while applying. Looking through the options available, I tried my luck at three programmes – The Actors Collective, Bangalore Football Club and FonePaisa.

I have always had an affinity towards theatre. I love to act and was interested in spending my summer at a programme that would help me take a step towards the art. Initially, I was expecting to take a technical role at The Actors Collective, along the lines of event management. But what I had in store for the next three weeks had me completely in surprise.

Take us through your experience at The Actors Collective.

During the first week of our internship, the five of us got to meet Mr. Rajesh and the folks from The Actor’s Collective. We were given two objectives, one was to take five photographs that depict different moods and the other was to watch a live action play.

Over the course of the week, we met to discuss the photographs that we had taken, dissecting each emotion that we managed to capture. It was an eye-opening experience for me, to understand how much goes into understanding a facial expression or an abstract photograph.

We got to understand the working of The Actors Collective, their specialization in Playback Theatre and how they teach the art form at their workshops. We were introduced to basic concepts during the second week, having met with a couple of actors from the Collective at Cubbon Park to practice playback theatre with them. At the end of the session, we were briefed about the financial model and how this company of actors arranged for shows across the country.

 

We visited Diya Ghar, an NGO for children from underprivileged and lower-economic communities. The idea behind this visit was to understand the role of empathy, while also interacting with the children. I got to teach them the alphabet and a couple of rhymes. It was a humbling experience for me – I realized that there things that are bigger than us that we often take for granted.

During our third week, we attended a workshop on playback theatre, learning more about the two forms of Playback, Conflict and Tableau. We got to practice with the actors from the Collective, getting advice, tips and critique on our expressions, posture and other techniques.

Towards the end of our internship, we spent our time at the Spastic Society of Karnataka. Here we met children suffering from Down’s Syndrome and helped them with their preparation for a skit they were putting up. They didn’t let their disability hinder their excitement or the fun they had and it left a big impact on me.

 

Did you enjoy your time with The Actors Collective? What do you think is the key learning from this experience?

This internship programme has been an experience I will never forget. I learned a form of theatre, I got to meet actors and learn from them, I understood how to pursue theatre and be part of a troupe, I met underprivileged children and those with disability, helping them, in whatever way I can. It has been a range of emotions for me, but the three key takeaways from my time with the Actors Collective are,

Teamwork: I realized the importance of working together. Whether it was performing Playback or a daily task of reaching a location with the other interns, I learnt that working as a team can take anyone far in what they do.

There is no right or wrong: Every decision made has its own justification. Everyone has a different view or perspective on things, which makes these decisions neither right nor wrong.

There are things bigger than me:  My three weeks has taught me that I need to appreciate and be thankful for everything is good in my life and that there are always things bigger than us. I will definitely see my problems in a different light after this internship. The workshop also helped, as I can act out different elements of a situation and find out where the core problem of the situation is.

In the beginning, I thought the programme would turn out to be objective, with a set of tasks to complete. It turned out to be an experience after another experience. Mr. Rajesh kept giving us ideas and things to do. The actors made sure we were comfortable and answered every question we put to them. I can’t wait to see them again, at one of their performances.

Rajkaushik is one of the 3 children from Ekya Schools and CMR National Public School who is interning at The Actors Collective through our Work Exposure Programme.

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