The charming Sumeet Vyas indulges us with a pleasant sensory attack and his reason for joining theatre. Discussing his reverie for a mix of nostalgia and familiar smells and what drew him to theatre, Sumeet tells us that when starting out, how important it was for him to enjoy what he was doing and the sheer joy of telling stories. Discussing the evolving nature of theatre, he emphasizes why we need the young, credible and the disruptive energy in order to gain momentum.
Simply put Sumeet has much belief and love for this profession and knows that art cannot be coerced but only encouraged through performances both good and bad.
How and why Theatre?
I used to work as an editor before. I used to work in a studio, edit countdown shows and I had gone to Prithvi Theatre to watch a play in which my father was acting. I saw some very pretty women there and I thought this is what I should do. Also there’s a very silly thing- when I was young, my father used to come home and his clothes used to smell a certain way and I used to love that smell. The first time I went backstage in Prithvi Theatre I found that same smell. It’s basically perfume mixed with cigarettes. It’s a strange sense of familiarity. I thought I should do this, I should be working here.
Tell us more about your first play
I was I think twenty or twenty-one when I directed my first play. It was a bit of a success and people started liking it and everything and that’s when it really struck me that this is what I should be doing because I started enjoying the whole process of me trying to accomplish something, trying to tell a story and people receiving it well and reacting the way I wanted them to react.
Is Indian Theatre dying or evolving?
I don’t think theatre is a dying art form. For decades people have been saying theatre’s dying and it never dies. It keeps evolving on its own, something or the other happens, some play, some new energy, some new people who come and do something interesting. But yeah, it’s definitely not reached a stage where we would want it to reach. But I think it’s definitely evolving especially in Bombay, I can talk about Bombay because that’s where I work, in the past I think five-six years I see some several new groups that have come up, several young people who’ve come up. By young I mean in the 16 to 20 age group and they’re all coming up with some great stuff, some shit stuff as well but that’s okay, I mean that’s part and parcel. It’s also important to do shit work as well to be able to come up with something incredible.