Published: 27th December 2020
How 24-year-old theatre artist and scriptwriter Lavanya Krishna found her calling on stage
Lavanya Krishna, who has donned several hats at a young age speaks about her journey into theatre and how she used acting skills to create mental health awareness among people
Theatre artist, poet, voice artist, scriptwriter — Lavanya Krishna is only 24 years old but she dons many hats. Being born and brought up in the family of readers, she too loved reading books and writing at an early age. She says, "I was only eight years old when I received the book Abridged, a collection of plays written by William Shakespeare. After that, the reading continued with The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet and Othello. I think that whatever I am today is because of the time that I've spent reading and writing."
We speak to Lavanya to know what pulled her towards the world of theatre. Excerpts:
1. When did your journey in theatre begin and how did it happen?
I was in class 5 when I first acted on stage and my friends appreciated me for it. As a kid, I felt good about my friends appreciating my acting skills. I took it serious and in class 6, I decided to become an actor. Everybody, including my parents, thought it was a passing phase as children have new goals and dreams every day. Even I almost swayed when I decided to pursue Psychology when I was in high school. But luckily, I got to study a combination of Theatre, Psychology and English Literature from Christ College in Bengaluru. I felt happy and thought that this is the closest I can come to having my cake and eating it too. I finally accepted the thought of being there for theatre and not psychology. That's how the journey into theatre began but I have been a professional actor for four to five years now. I have performed in over 12 plays outside college.
2. Which is that one character that you always adored and felt most connected to?
When I was a child, my grandmother gave me a book of Shakespeare's plays titled Abridged and I read this play called The Taming of the Shrew. For the first time, I came across this character who was not shy or dainty, unlike other characters who are picturised like most other women. The character goes on to break a guitar on her teacher's head. Though I know it was not desirable, it tells the reader that girls can also have unpleasant emotions and it is fine. I was obsessed with this character and I played it several times on stage.
3. You are also a poet and have performed at open mic events. What do you focus on while writing poems?
I started writing poems when I was a kid. I lived for a year in the USA and when I was returning to India, my mother wanted to make sure that whatever is covered in schools in India was being covered in the USA too. In this process, she realised that I loved to write. She could ask me to write anything in small paragraphs and I would happily write. Writing is kind of natural to me and I love playing with words. To be able to learn words, understand and manipulate them to make people feel a certain way is an underrated superpower in today's world.
I don't follow particular themes or subjects when I write poems. Because when I am overwhelmed with feelings, I put it down on paper. It helps to break down these emotions in a more calm, rational and mature way rather than acting impulsively. If I write a new poem, the reader will get to know what's going on in my mind.
4. You have been using your acting skills to bring mental awareness and diversity among people. Can you tell us more about it?
In the corporate world, I see that a lot of people find it boring when we approach them with a PowerPoint presentation. But when you perform or do a play, they tend to find it relatable. Either they might have come across a similar situation or they might have experienced the same. That makes it easier to connect with them than putting a bunch of people in a room and asking them if they agree or disagree to certain points. That's my approach to bringing theatre to the corporate world.
5. What do you have lined up for the future?
I am a freelancer and I take up projects as and when they come. Currently, I am writing a script for a short film. Aside from this, I am also working on a script that speaks about bipolar disorder and what it means to experience the same. I am taking this project slowly because I don't want to sensationalise it and misrepresent the struggles of somebody who has gone through it. I want to make sure that I'm being authentic in giving out this information.