Workshops over Rehearsals – Our Attachment to Fad Terms

Quite often we hear young actors saying in the media that I did a workshop with so and so and this is the reason you guys like my performance so much. My question is, what are workshops? They have been defined as a continuation of meetings where the main focus is on exchanging information and the participants interacting with each other. In the functional sense, this means that there are some people, who are apparently knowledgeable at what they do, and they instruct others who are presumably there to learn it and get better at what is being taught. Now, I have a simple question – how is this different from rehearsals?

I used to be an actor once in my youth and have attended my fair share of rehearsals where I have sweated and worked really hard to get a grip on the nuances of acting especially for the theatre form. It is here that I learnt how to control my voice – raise it without the threat of cracking up my larynx. These are lessons that come in handy even now. This means that, in spirit, this is similar to what the young generation calls a workshop. Now the obvious question that comes up is what’s there in the name? I say, a lot.

In the last few years I have been seeing new terms come up like crazy – toilets were referred to as washrooms and then they became restrooms. God knows who will take rest in a toilet! A few years back a young lady asked me and my friend in a bookstore as to where its restroom was. It took us a minute or so to understand what she meant and then thankfully we were able to point her in the right direction. It was around the same time that I scolded my mother, albeit mildly, for asking for “butter” in a sweet shop instead of the colloquial and normal “makkhan”.

This usage of new terms at every conceivable opportunity is very irksome if you ask me. For me this trend represents a loss of innocence conveyed through words that we used in our childhood to signify objects and daily going ons of life. Why is it that we always leave these simple things behind and want to become one with the world, be global? I can understand this trend among the urban youth of today who are removed from their roots, almost more than they have the right to be. But why are even my friends behaving like this – why this desperate attempt to be part of the mainstream?

I guess there’s no use to go looking for answers – perhaps this is the way things were meant to be. I am not a nostalgic person by any means but sometimes I really do hope that the old times come back.