The arrival of October has always been the signal for festivities and outdoor recreations to begin. These range from puja pandals to music festivals, food fests to concerts, and live performances on stage. The sense of revelry in the air is palpable and calendars booked months in advance for pleasant fall and winter evenings! The pandemic may have dimmed our ardour for crowded outdoorsy events, but it has not taken away the need for social and cultural engagement.
Artists, musicians and performers have taken to the digital medium to ride out these tough times. Performances, sharing recorded pieces and teaching classes on their craft, have kept them busy thus far. However, these virtual performances and recordings mostly cater to the existing fan base of the particular artists and are quite limited. Many of them face the problem of connecting with a new audience as they would have earlier, through organised events. This is where brands like ShowCase Studio are instrumental in bridging the gap between the artists and the audience.
A branch of ShowCase Events, known for organising fabulous folk concerts, ShowCase Studio produces a weekly talk show, “In Conversation”, where a performer is invited to speak to an expert in their field while treating the audience to live performances. The show takes place every Sunday and tickets are sold on Townscript. It is an event unlike anything available in the overcrowded online space. Having thoroughly enjoyed the last few episodes, I was inspired to write this article.
Concerts and live performances have changed immensely in 2020, but their virtual iterations have advantages too:
A VIRTUAL LIVE SHOW HAS A UNIQUE CHARM
A live performance given by an artist from their home or personal space, offers a sense of intimacy. It allows the viewer to feel privy to the lives of the artists — a far cry from the forced distance of raised concert stages. This sense of informality is further enhanced as the audience sees only themselves and their family members during the performance. It is a feeling of exclusivity, generally accorded to a privileged few. Digital media comes with its own peculiar challenges, but even these glitches somehow enhance the realness of the entire experience.
A GLIMPSE INTO PERSONAL STORY OF ARTISTS
Where most staged concerts and live performances are limited to the performance and perhaps a line or two of engaging banter with the audience, they never offer a look at the personal story of the performer. Virtual performances go a step beyond, as they allow the performer to speak about subjects they love above all else — their own craft. Most artists have in-depth knowledge of the history and evolution of their chosen forms of art, but keep that knowledge restricted to print and the odd TV interview, which have two drawbacks in comparison to the virtual live format. They do not allow the audience to participate in the questioning and discussion, and they are restricted to talking, with no scope for an amalgamation of the performance and the speech!
CLASSIC ENTERTAINMENT FOR WHOLE FAMILY
The pandemic has forced us to reassess our general spending habits, and it has also provided us with opportunities to be more frugal, as we venture out less. This is an added advantage, as entire families have the ability to view an episode or virtual concert on the price of a single ticket, as opposed to pre-pandemic days where they would necessarily buy tickets for each attendee. An unexpected yet welcome bonus! Though virtual concerts and live performances lack the largesse of in-person live concerts, they certainly have their own charm. Until things return to a semblance of normalcy, innovative performance-based talk shows like “In Conversation” hosted by ShowCase Studio are fulfilling the need for cultural entertainment. If you have been missing live concerts and performances, buy a ticket on Townscript for this Sunday’s episode where maverick vocalist and flautist Rasika Shekar performs and speaks to music journalist Narendra Kusnur.
The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles on her successful blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be found on Instagram @nooranandchawla.