They learn how to die, how to be born, how to walk, eat, drink, how to have an argument, how to laugh and cry. This is all rudimentary stuff of course. It doesn't always come so natural- these fundamental actions of falling and rising, sitting and sleeping.
I'm talking about acting on the stage.
There are at least fourteen of them- teens or so, volunteer actors, some in their twenties. Most of them are very athletic. They at least know how to fake a fight. With martial arts as a background that comes natural. My crew, consisting of monks or men (and women), are all devotees of Krishna. The two young women know how to dance Bharat Natyam. When looking at these boys and girls you can say they are physically beautiful and bright. They are from origins all over the world; India, the U.S., U.K., Canada, Europe, South America and Africa.
Each morning and evening we gather to have practices in learning how to slip and trip, how to project the voice and to reincarnate as animals and plants.
The production that we are gearing up for is called "The Three Lives of Bharat" and there is a buzz in the air around Mayapura that a hard worked-at piece of drama will manifest itself on the stage. It was a good dress-rehearsal on the night before and the occupants of my room, four of us, slept in to conserve energy for the coming performance.
That meant I had little time for walking this morning, which is an austerity.
I will not fail to mention about the great participation of Urmila, a godsister. Her contribution to children's education in the spiritual setting of ISKCON is phenomenal. She admitted to theatre acting as a closet passion. She plays the role of a mom in a dysfunctional family.
There is also Pragosh, my Irish friend. Playing the part of Punditji, a peer to the main role Bharat. I've worked with Pragosh for years now. He's always a riot.
Indian and the yogic culture is steeped in theatre. Chaitanya, Nityananda, our guru Srila Prabhupada - all of them gave a chunk of their spiritual endeavors to drama. It is a tradition to endear.