Termessos : Lost World of Art
“Yes ….. I think 14th would be the most appropriate day.”, said Mr. Siddiqui, the un-awarded director in Mumbai.
“Which 14th ……?” , asked Arohi, the casting director and Mr. Siddiqui’s assistant.
“14th November …… Children’s day it is…”, he replied.
“So, shall we start the preparations of the play… as it is only four weeks to go….”, said Arohi.
“Come, I will brief you and start scripting accordingly.”, Mr. Siddiqui said.
It was in the late 90’s in Mumbai, that Mr. Siddiqui who directed Plays, short movies and standalone episodes in a channel used to discover various theatres in the world and their origin.
He found one such theatre, which was in Turkey. The modern day Antalya province in Turkey, which was then Termessos.The theatre was unique and one of its kind as it had a history linked with it.
The city was founded near 71 B.C. and since then the people of Termessos had a sense of art and promoted the culture of celebrating and honoring the work of art. The most unique form of art was the theatre which showcased plays on every Saturday.
The whole week was filled with preparation of the play which was to be showcased on Saturday.
Mr. Siddiqui had come back after visiting the city of Termessos and decided to portray the lost world of art in his play.
“Termessos – was built at the south-west side of the Solymosmountains. Being a mix of plain andmountainairearea ,Termessos was built with the inspiration of art and innovative architecture. It was a beautiful city with a realm of art.”, briefed Professor Siddiqui.
It was 14th November (children’s day), when the play – “Termessos – Lost world of Art” was to be launched in PrithviThetare in Mumbai.
Preparations had started and the D-Day came near. Rehearsals and briefing went all day.
“It was not only the theatre that attracted me in Termessos. It was the overall architecture and the left-out nuances of Art, literature and their culture that excited me.’, briefed Mr. Siddiqui.
“Hey, Fama&Fortuna…..are’nt you coming for the play today?”, asked the senior architect Mr. Berk.
“Yes…. Dadie is coming to lock the temple and then we shall go.”, replied Fama& Fortuna, the two daughters of the temple priest in Termessos.
All was going well with rehearsals in Mr. Siddiqui’s theatre.The tickets were ready to be sold and the bureaucrats along with elite class of the film industry – the directors, writers, poets, musicians were invited.
“The architecture of the city of Termessos was fascinating. They had rock cut tombs along the main road.”, briefed the director.
“The remains in the city told the story of the picturesque view of the famous “King Street as the Termessians used to call it. The street with wide, shop-lined porticoes ran north-south through the city…….. The space between the columns of the porticoes was filled with the statues of successful athletes, wrestlers and people of inspiration.”, the director continued briefing.
“Common… we have this rehearsal of Scene – 26 ……. Hurry up and queue up backstage.”, shouted Arohi – the casting director.
“Is this packed now…”.. “Yes the complete lunch is packed.” ….. “Please count that it should be 117 lunch boxes…. Yes it is.” ………. “Now push your feets and come fast after delivering this at the theatre as I have to start preparations for the sumptuous dinner.”, the termessians used to prepare food for the artists and the complete unit of the theatre.
There were four different houses allotted daily to prepare lunch and lavish dinner at the end of the day for the theatre artists. Men used to deliver and serve the supper at the theatre.
“Hey…. Step aside … the Architects and the labours are coming.”, said one Termessian to another.
“Where are they going with so much building material” …… “I guess some new construction is on the cards near the theatre.” ……….. “No…. they are going for the re-construction of the rock cut tomb near the temple, which has cracks now.”, the Termessians conversed.
Art was worshipped and honored in Termessos. The Architects, labours, painters were paid high respect in the society.
“Many of the modern theatres have been built in the same way. The kind of plays and dedication in performing the plays were all inherited from Termessos in the present times it seems. It may be Bollywood or Hollywood, they are all inspired from Termessos theatre.”, briefed the director.
Fourteenth November came and the tickets were not fully sold for the first day. Also the bureaucrats and the elite class of the film industry did not turned-up.
It was disheartening for the theatre team but the director looked confident and motivated everyone to perform at his or her very best.
The play started and nearly forty percent of seats were occupied.
“Have you got the stone for the play?” , asked the soldier randomly from a lady sitting in the corner seat in the south east end of the theatre.
“Yes… I have bought one….aaaa …. Where it’s gone…… Oh ya ..here it is.”
The spectators had to buy a stone for the play in Termessos. This stone was specially designed and the name of the play was written on it. It was made in the weekdays by the architects and labours.
No one was asked at the entry for the theatre stone but if anyone was found without the stone, they were punished severely.
“And you… please show me your stone Mr. ….. ?”, asked the soldier.
“Aaaaa.. I had got it…… I don’t know where its gone”, replied the Termessian.
“You should have visited the fortune tellers sitting outside today…… they would have told you that you would have only four fingers in your hand from today.”, said the soldier.
The guy was punished the next day and his limb was cut. This was a strong message in the society of Termessos and this kind of instance was rare.
The play ended and it was good to see that the spectators were clapping.
“Word of mouth will work for us……. Keep walking and work-hard.”, said the Director to the team after the performance.
More than eighty percent of tickets were sold for the second day.
“These were the six temples in the city of Termessos and their chief god, Zeus was worshipped. The city has the best water harvesting and storage facility.”, the voice over was going on in the play while showcasing the city of Termessos in the play and it continued…
…. “ The theatre was the most eye catching building in the all the Termessos plain. It displayed most clearly the features of the Roman theatre. The semicircular seating area, was divided in two. Above stood eight tiers of seats and below there were sixteen allowing for a seating capacity of some five thousand spectators.
A large arched entrance way connects with the podium. The stage building exhibits features characteristic of the 2nd century AD. A long narrow room is all that lies behind it. This is connected with the podium where the play took place. Under the stage lie five small rooms where wild animals were kept before being taken on the stage.
Every play was portrayed through a drawing book, which was painted and prepared by the famous painters and artists in Termessos. It was sold in the thetare itself on next Friday. ”
The praising and clapping of the spectators grew and the next day the newspapers had a column – “ Termessos – The lost world of Art”.
The tickets were sold out for the next two weeks.
“Sir, the bureaucrats and invited elite people have been calling up for the play.”, said Arohi to the director.
“So……… Let them buy the ticket now. They were invited on the first day only. They should start respecting any form of Art.”, replied the Director.
It was the third day and the ambience was pumping like anything.
“Remember… I told that those architect and labours were going to re-construct the rock cut tomb which had cracks that day…………” ….. “Yaa…..so…” …… “The same cracks have been found in the theatre and the architects and the labors are re-constructing that to be finished till Saturday and get the theatre ready for the play.”, the people of Termessos conversed in the play.
The various bureaucrats and invited elite people of the film industry started coming to watch the play.
A beautiful city of Termessos lost its identity and it was the last scene……..
“Why am I shaking so much ………..Ohh everyone is shaking …….Ohhh …..Run ……..the podium is cracking…… let the animals free from the room below the podium…….”
It was a dangerous earthquake that had hit this beautiful city of Art.
The Bureaucrats from the ministry and the film industry decided and announced that the play would be funded to go no only around India but the travel the whole world.
It was the respect for the play of Termessos and the director – Mr. JavedSiddiqui.
The Newspapers headlines read the next day – “Respect for Art – Thetare of Termessos and the un awarded director”.
Rating - 134/200
(Team Rishi Srivastava and Amit Albert)
Judges - Pankaj V. (Shaan), Mayank Sharma and Mohit Trendster
Total Rating ( 3 Rounds) - 348/600 (58%)