One of my most enriching experiences was working with the theatre troupe, Magic Lantern. Besides acting and travelling with some of the best actors in Chennai, what transformed me was the moment I stepped into a character’s mind for the first time. It happened when I was playing Elmire in Moliere’s Tartuffe to a packed audience in a village square. Tartuffe was about to pounce on me, Orgon was under the table, I was coughing to get his attention, and there was something about the villagers who responded to every moment on the stage that I found myself disappearing and Elmire appearing out of nowhere.
I played the lead heroine in the Tamil plays Veshakkaran (an adaptation from Molière’s Tartuffe or The Imposter), Minnal Ravi (an adaptation from Dario Fo’s The Virtuous Burglar), and Jambu Lingam (a satire adapted into Tamil from Chandrasekhar Kambar’s Samba Siva). Even now, when I write a story, it is those acting muscles I exercise to step into a character’s mind.